Midterm Elections -- What To Look for in Facebook Ads

In a previous post, we looked at what Facebook has learned from the 2016 election.   Facebook is at least stating that they will validate by address the validity of the ad buyer.   The problem that remains however is the ability to target a very specific group of users while not allowing those not targeted to report if it is misleading or un-truthful.

In order to think about political ads, first we should review what the FEC requires political advertising.  Here is primer on the requirements.  In a nutshell, it comes down to what types of communication require a disclaimer.   What's required in a disclaimer-some statement if it is authorized by and paid for by the campaign or some third party.   

While Facebook does have detailed policies about their targeted ad features it says nothing about a disclaimer.  Late last year Facebook, Twitter, and Google all  offered to disclose ad buys when they testified before Congress, but nothing has changed yet.  
So what can you do to help find ads that might not be truthful when Facebook's ad targeting does not show them to you?   Here is an interesting project from ProPublica  They have developed browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox  that will collect political ads when you log into Facebook and present political ads that were not targeted at you.   Propublica also says this extension will also "collect that targeting information provided by Facebook, which may help illuminate what viewership the ads are trying to reach."   This should identify if an ad is violating Facebook's targeted ad policy which Facebook reserves the right to revoke at anytime.

Let us know if you try this browser extension.    We here at OneHealineADay.com already have it.

1 comment:

  1. Two problems: 1. ... persons or political committee ... I don't believe anyone, FCC or FEC requires that three officers, actual people need be identified, and 2. i don't know if i want to go to the trouble of actually visiting facebook, let alone load yet-another-extension in my browser. and how does it even work. i guess if you access facebook thru the browser, but what about the FB app?