Help us create better political ad data

We’re looking for people to help us identify political advertisers among Meta and Google data and match them to political parties or coalitions. So far, our team and volunteers have built a dataset that is helping our tools track the activities of over 55,000 party-affiliated online political advertisers in over 40 countries. We want both of these numbers to grow.

If you want to volunteer, please email contact@whotargets.me

This data helps power the Who Targets Me browser extension (installed by nearly 100,000 people), as well as dashboards showing how parties spend money and target specific audiences. This data ends up in political coverage on TV, radio and in newspapers, academic research and supporting the case for even greater political advertising transparency and accountability.

We are particularly looking for volunteers to support work on the EU elections in 2024 in Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czechia, Estonia, Finland, Italy, Lithuania, Latvia, Malta, Portugal, Romania, Sweden, Slovenia and Slovakia, as well as people working on the elections in Argentina or any of the many significant elections next year.

If you’re interested in helping out, we provide:

  • Access to our “Manage” tool, which makes it easy to research and classify online political advertisers
  • Full training on how to use it
  • Access to our private Slack channel to discuss the elections and get help with sorting the data
  • Use of the data for the country you’re helping with

The time commitment is likely a few hours in the first instance, particularly if we’ve not got a lot of data for a country. Once that’s done, it’s usually around an hour a month (but any amount – even just a few minutes – is really helpful).

If you can spare the time, email us at contact@whotargets.me and we’ll get right back to you.

Anything else?

There is much work to do in political transparency, and so little resource available. If you have any of the following skills, and a little spare time, we’d love to hear from you.

Software – all skills welcome. We use an AWS/React/Postgres stack and a bit of Python. Experience with visualisation tools would be cool (we’ve recently been working with D3.js). Experience making databases and queries run faster would be great too.

Communications and media – helping out with press (press releases, messaging), writing newsletters, improving our social media presence, writing sometimes complicated things so that they’re simple, while still accurate, editing other pieces to make them read well.

Language and localisation – improving our translations for our browser extensions and website, identifying political advertisers (typically just a couple of hours work per country).

Data analysis (quantitative) – R, statistical packages, spreadsheets, charts, visualisations.

Data analysis (qualitative) – You follow politics closely where you live and know how campaigns work. You can look at campaign material, quickly see what it’s trying to achieve and explain it to people.

Policy and influencing – You know how laws get made, know the right people to talk to, can help us think strategically about how to make political ads trustworthy and transparent, likely through regulation.

Legal – Help us understand the evolving picture of law and precedent, how it affects the campaigns we monitor and the way we do our work.

Design – Help us communicate our findings and thinking clearly and with visual flair.

Research – Help us ask and answer better questions that contribute to knowledge of how campaigns and internet platforms work, or even perhaps deeper questions about human psychology and persuasion. You might know about other research projects in this area, what they’re looking at and how our work compliments it.

If any of that sounds like you, just email us (contact@whotargets.me) telling us how you think you could help.