For the first time, Facebook has decided to let the researchers access the target information for more than 1.3 billion election ads. From February 1 onwards facebook permits access to ads related to social issues, political and electoral ads through the Facebook Open Research Transparency (FORT). This data package encompasses ads that extend during three month period from August 3 to November 3, 2020, before the U.S election date. The decision to render deeper insights to ads occurs as an outcome of feedback from the research community which specifically asks for the targeting related ad data. This enables academic researchers in evaluating the repercussions of facebook’s products on elections. It also contains various measures to ensure the privacy of customers as well as to maintain the reliability of the platform. Advertiser’s criteria for choosing a target audience provide key insights in analyzing the impact of digital events like political elections.
Advertisers who are dealing with a social issue, political or electoral ads create the targeting criteria for reporting and analysis of such events. The targeting criteria include factors like location, interests, etc. In addition to this, on February 1, the ‘US 2020 Election Spend Tracker’ data which is now, exclusively available in the Ad library will be placed on the Election’s page. This makes the researchers easily access and download the requisite information. Tracking the election ads provides the academic researchers, and others to realize the amount of time spent by the presidential, senate, and house candidates on various campaigns during 2020. Ad library will continue to deliver its visiting customers the ability to compare the aggregate amount spend for ads for any set of pages. This includes ads representing running social issues, political events or electoral ads, future candidates or present candidates, etc. The visitors also get an added advantage of visualizing the spend comparisons.
These provisions are accessible for set date ranges including the last 7 days, last 30 days, and last 90 days. Facebook thus provides an invaluable opportunity for academic researchers to analyze significant election data and other issue-specific data and hence to draw deep dives into the entire political scenario.