OPAL

Online Political Advertising Library

OPAL is three things.

  1. A searchable database containing political ads bought and placed on the internet. 
  2. It’s global. OPAL improves transparency in the democratic process, covering advertising in elections around the world.
  3. It informs policy — helping set the rules for how online political ads are governed. 

In the near term:

Right now, we’re in the early stages of developing a pilot version of a tagging tool. We’re trying to tackle the challenge of helping users interact with large amounts of textual data, part of this means ‘breaking up’ the data into manageable workflows. This is both a conceptual and a technical challenge.

In the longer term:

We hope that OPAL contributes to bringing transparency to political advertising online: a constantly-updated, unified dataset for political advertising and advertisers on social media.

Who’s it for?

Everyone. Anyone capable of using common internet resources in order to research and validate political data.

What will we learn?

We’ll know more about who is creating, and paying for, political adverts online. We’ll know more about what different types of actors do and how they do it.

How can you get involved?

Contact us. We’re looking for beta-testers right now.

Our ultimate ambition:

We think political ad libraries and the rules around political ad transparency are too important to be left to private platforms. But they’re often also too difficult and dynamic to be left entirely to governments too. 

A true online political ad library should be an institution with the power to set consistent, uniform rules for political ads on platforms, advise governments, regulators and election monitors on what they need to do to ensure transparency, monitor ads for new and bad behaviour and update rules accordingly and provide data for research to further evolve the understanding of how such ads are used and the effect they have.