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Meta To Be More Transparent On Political Ad Data

Journalists, academics, and others can now obtain more detailed information on how digital advertising data is being used by political campaigns'

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Parent company to Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp,—  Meta Platforms has announced a new program, Facebook Open Research and Transparency (FORT), that will provide detailed information on targeting criteria on all advertisements related to social, electoral, and political issues to academic researchers and journalists. 

This information will include details on interest, location, and demographics used by advertisers for specific ad targeting.

“By making advertiser targeting criteria available for analysis and reporting on ads run about social issues, elections and politics, we hope to help people better understand the practices used to reach potential voters on our technologies,” the company said in a statement.

Additionally, the company will also add a summary of targeted information to a publicly available ad library which reveals how many such ads were run by a page in every interest category along with information on the share of ad spending. 

“the ad library could show that over the last 30 days, a page ran 2,000 ads about social issues, elections or politics, and that 40% of their spend on these ads was targeted to people who live in Pennsylvania or people who are interested in politics.", said Jeff King, Vice President of Business Integrity at Meta.

As per Statistica, advertising is the primary source of revenue for Meta by accounting for 97.9 percent of the company’s global revenue in 2020. The company had previously faced backlash for the United Kingdom-based social media monitoring platform, Cambridge Analytica's illegal procuring of 50 million users' personal data that was allegedly used to manipulate US elections and its outcome. The latest move comes as the US prepares itself for midterm elections in November. 

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