On the proposed “Social Media Disclosure and Transparency of Advertisements (DATA) Act” (and how it could be better)

There’s new legislation being proposed in the US by Congresswoman Lori Trahan to increase advertising transparency.  It has lots of good things in it, including: Specific definitions of the data that should be disclosed, including targeting and engagement Development of common standards across platforms for disclosure Oversight of how it’s implemented If we ever wrote […]

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Oversight boards for everything

How do you break a big problem – oversight of the big social media platforms – into a series of smaller, more manageable ones?

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A Goldilocks Zone for political ads

Around many stars there is a so-called “goldilocks zone” where the temperature is just right for a planet to enjoy liquid water, and (perhaps) to support life. We think political advertising on social media also has a goldilocks zone. If you allow too many ads, you give unscrupulous campaigns the ability to microtarget voters, tell […]

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Why political Facebook ads are the most interesting political ads ever

There’s an argument that “political Facebook ads are just ads”. After 2016’s Brexit and Trump victories, when both campaigns made claim to being Facebook ad geniuses, it became important to take a look and see whether they were, in fact, more than that. Over time, the reconstruction of those campaigns has taken much of the […]

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Introducing ‘Decoder’

Using our new ‘Decoder’ tool, we’ve grabbed and decoded every URL linked to in Trump and Biden Facebook ads since July 1st*.  Each URL tells us a little about what the campaigns are trying to accomplish with the ad. By putting them all together, and looking at the data in aggregate, we can see deeper […]

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