"There's information about political advertising—including the choices about how to target ads to you instead of someone else—that's not in Facebook's Ad Archive," says ProPublica's Jeremy Merrill. "It can only be exposed if you participate in this project with ProPublica, ABC and our other awesome partners."
Here's the Political Ad Collector project at ProPublica, with details on how to use their tools to better inform yourself and others.
To shine a light on targeted political advertising on Facebook, ProPublica built a browser plugin that allows Facebook users to automatically send us the ads that are displayed in their News Feeds, along with their targeting information. Use this database to search for political ads based on who was meant to see them.
How It Works:
The Political Ad Collector is a tool you add to your Web browser. It copies the ads you see on Facebook, so anyone, on any part of the political spectrum, can see them in our public database. It doesn't collect your personal information. We take your privacy very seriously.
And from the project partner, ABC News:
In order to better understand the tactics and strategies of all political actors on Facebook, ABC News is partnering with ProPublica, a nonprofit, award-winning news organization that has built a tool to collect information and data on political ads that are being targeted to users of the social media giant.
ProPublica's tool is a simple, free browser plugin on a Firefox or Google Chrome web browser, that Facebook users can opt into and report political advertisements they see on the site. Those advertisements will then be collected by ProPublica in a public database to track and analyze advertisements on Facebook.
ABC News and other news organizations will then use that database and information to better understand and report on how political actors are utilizing one of the most powerful communication mediums on the planet.
Thus far the tool has gathered almost 60,000 individual advertisements from over 12,500 contributors, according to ProPublica.