"Facebook has effectively ended all this work," said one researcher referring to her team's work of identifying political disinformation and vaccine misinformation on the platform. In the month of August alone, it was revealed that Facebook banned the accounts of a group of NYU researchers, threatened legal action against another group of AlgorithmWatch researchers, and imposed rigid data access restrictions on Princeton University researchers. These researchers play an important role in holding social platforms accountable by studying fake news and disinformation patterns, algorithmic bias, ad targetting practices, the spread of hate speech, etc. But Facebook has restricted such research in the name of protecting privacy, which many privacy advocates have called a bogus claim. Here's a round-up of what went down. NYU Ad Observatory What happened? On August 3, Facebook banned the personal accounts of researchers who are part of NYU Ad Observatory as well as suspended the team’s access to Facebook’s Ad Library and Crowdtangle, two platforms that provide data on how often particular posts are viewed, liked, and shared. What is NYU Ad Observatory? It is a project studying ad transparency and the spread of misinformation on social media platforms. To carry out their work, the researchers developed a browser plug-in called Ad Observer, which collects data from users on what political ads are shown to them and why were they targeted. The plug-in's website states that it does not collect any personally identifying information and has published the code for anyone to audit. Why does this research project matter? "Online ads are usually…
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- Six key points from the revised guidelines for education ads by Advertising Standards Council of India May 31, 2023
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