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Meta says it will publish data on targeted ads from June

It could be crucial to knowing more about political ads in particular.

"At the end of this month, detailed targeting information for social issue, electoral or political ads will be made available to vetted academic researchers through the Facebook Open Research and Transparency (FORT) environment," Facebook's parent company Meta said in a blog post on May 23. The company is also offering more information about political ads through its Ad Library which is open to public. But unlike the data shared through FORT, the Ad Library will only display aggregate data about the number of ads a page has run targeting a given demographic and how much that page has spent on targeting said demographic, the post revealed. "For example, 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." — Meta The new policy comes in the backdrop of a new bill tabled in the US Senate which is supposed to prohibit companies with more than $20 billion per year in digital ad revenue from running a "digital advertising exchange." Letting researchers access this type of data could increase understanding of how political campaigns and groups are operating. It may also increase scrutiny of Meta and the way it enables political actors to manipulate and micro-target users. What type of data? Academics and researchers who are registered with Meta's FORT project will have access to information…

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