The Who Targets Me browser extension generates personalised results to help you understand the ways political ads are being used to reach you.
To see them, after installing the extension, click the Who Targets Me icon in your browser toolbar to open the results page. (Note that personalised results will take a while to appear, as you’ll need to see some political ads first, but the country-wide results will appear in the meantime).
When you open the page you’ll see a number of panels, each providing different aggregated information about the political ads you – and other Who Targets Me users – have seen.
Throughout, we use a common key to identify political groupings. This normally includes pages associated with each major national political party (such as The Conservatives in the UK or CDU in Germany), along with groupings for state-actors (such as government departments and city councils), “political players” (usually non-profits, trade unions, pressure groups and think tanks who try to influence election results, but are not directly affiliated with parties) and “other parties” (usually smaller or regional parties).
Taking the panels in order:
(Users in some countries with elections in the next 12 months will see a panel inviting them to take a survey run by the University of Manchester, who we’re working with on a series of research projects around elections across the world).
The first panel (proper) contains your personalised results. It shows you how many ads you’ve seen, who the main party group targeting you is, how many other people in your country are seeing political ads and so on.
The second panel shows you the Facebook interests that different parties have used to target you. Remember, these aren’t necessarily interests you’ve expressed or pages you’ve liked, but are instead derived from your behaviour on the site (such as clicking on particular links).
The third panel breaks down the ads you’ve seen by party group (as described above). Note that we ignore the “other parties” and “other pages” groupings in the “you are being targeted by…” result at the top of the page.
The fourth panel allows you to see the totality of advertising seen by other people in your electoral area. You can also compare your area with another, by selecting one from the drop down menu.
The fifth panel shows the overall volume of political advertising relative to non-political advertising over the last couple of months. Outside election periods, the volume of political ads is generally very low, but as election day approaches, it increases rapidly.
The sixth panel (Germany only at the moment) gives a relative demographic breakdown of who’s seeing ads and which advertisers they’re seeing them from. There are two charts (under vs. over 45s and men vs. women). We’ve re-weighted our sample of users to reflect the makeup of the voting public, but you can also view these charts without any weighting.
The seventh and final panel is a simple list of all political ads the extension has ’seen’ in your newsfeed in the last 90 days. It includes the advertiser, full text and targeting information, as well as the date you saw the ad.