How are Democrats and Republicans targeting their Facebook ads?

We’ve been using data, now published publicly by Facebook via their Ad Library, to try and better understand how campaigns are targeting their ads for the midterms. We’ve done this in two ways, using data from the last three months. First, we’ve built a map of the US, state-by-state, showing how and where Democratic (i.e. […]

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Making Who Targets Me available to everyone, everywhere

The story so far… We have always wanted Who Targets Me to be available to anyone who sees political ads and is interested in where they come from, why they see them, and what they can do to help democracy face up to the many challenges of the digital age. That’s why we’ve tried to […]

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Swedish election – snap analysis

The Swedish election results are coming out. It’s very close – one seat either way could make the difference. As with all close elections, campaigns matter. Digital campaigns are an important part of that. And the use of digital ads are a piece of that. Let’s start with looking at the use of Facebook/Instagram ads […]

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Regulating political ad systems (not just political ads)

We spent the day in Brussels yesterday talking with policymakers and organisations who are working on the forthcoming EU Regulation on Political Ads. Overall, the Regulation is heading in broadly the right direction (more transparency and verification, some limitation on methods), but there’s a few course corrections needed and places where it could be improved. […]

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Facebook is trying to take the bias out of US housing ads. Will it have to do the same for EU political ads?

Facebook has announced some new measures they’re taking for housing ads in the US. It’s an interesting topic, with the potential for wider repercussions. Let’s unpick it. Basically (to summarise the legal settlement they made with the US government), Facebook is making changes because there’s (at the very least) the potential for bias in the […]

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Should you have a truth regulator for political ads?

No. We get it. People are pissed off at politicians. One in particular. So why shouldn’t we regulate political ads to make sure they’re truthful? Here’s 11 reasons why not: Someone adjudicating for truth in political advertising must be very, very impartial. But who’s very, very impartial when it comes to politics? Is the BBC […]

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Why does England get Facebook’s worst political ad transparency?

The UK has a parliamentary system with 650 seats, representing 650 distinct geographically bounded constituencies. Each seat elects an MP. An MP wins if they get more votes than anyone else from voters in their constituency. The party with the most MPs forms the government. That party leader becomes Prime Minister. But you know all […]

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Apple, Haugen, Facebook’s Q4 “death” and what it means for political ads

Facebook’s most recent set of numbers look bad. They showed users aren’t flocking to the platform in the same way as in previous years. Perhaps they’ve reached saturation point in most markets or users find themselves turned off by the reports following Frances Haugen’s whistleblowing. Alongside this, advertisers are finding it harder to target those […]

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