Facebook ‘s attempts to shed transparency on political ads grounds watchdogs

January 29, 2019 by donal brown

In an attempt to expose those behind political negative ads, Facebook has made it more difficult for the news media and nonprofits to monitor those ads. ProPublica established an ad monitoring tool that resulted in showing how oil companies evaded Facebook’s new ad transparency tool but now find themselves unable to use their tool.  (The Guardian, January 27, 2019, by Jim Waterson)

Says Jon Fingas in engadget, January 27, 2019, “Facebook certainly isn’t averse to political ad transparency. It recently implemented its own systems to help trace the origins of political campaigns, and has even gone so far as to ban foreign advertisers during key votes in a bid to improve accountability. The plugin limitations might prevent third parties from tracking sneaky advertisers in ways Facebook can’t catch, however, and it’s notable that plugins like WhoTargetsMe are voluntary — users know what they’re sharing. Facebook clearly has to walk a fine line when handling data, and it doesn’t always achieve a perfect balance.”