A Goldilocks Zone for political ads

Around many stars is a so-called “goldilocks zone” where the temperature is just right for a planet to enjoy liquid water, and (perhaps) 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 them only […]

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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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How to turn off political ads on Facebook

Facebook introduces a ‘kill switch’ for political advertising in the US. Over the past five years we’ve seen a massive increase in the level of political advertising through digital platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Google. Alongside legitimate campaigning, thanks to a lack of oversight, it’s also become the perfect place to seed disinformation and manipulate […]

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Ten simple ideas to regulate online political advertising in the UK

There are good ways of regulating political ads and there are bad ways of regulating political ads.

We need sensible ideas that allow campaigns to reach voters with ideas, while preventing abuse.

This post sets out ten ideas that, if implemented by governments and platforms, would improve trust and transparency.

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