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Facebook and Instagram will reveal how ads target users



(Washington) Facebook’s parent company Meta said it would begin publicly providing more details about how advertisers target people with political ads, just months before the U.S. midterm elections. United.

The announcement follows years of criticism that social media platforms withhold too much information about how campaigns, special interest groups and politicians use the platform to target small groups of people with polarizing, divisive or misleading messages.

Meta, which also owns the Instagram platform, said it would start publishing details in July about the demographics and interests of audiences targeted by ads running on its two main social networks. The company will also share how much advertisers spend targeting people in certain states.

“By making advertiser targeting criteria available for analysis and reporting on ads served on social issues, elections and politics, we hope to help people better understand the practices used to reach potential voters on our technologies,” wrote Meta’s Chief Business Integrity Officer, Jeff King, in a statement posted on Meta’s website.

The new details could shed light on how politicians deliver misleading or controversial political messages to certain groups of people. Advocacy groups and Democrats, for example, have argued for years that misleading political ads overwhelm the Facebook feeds of Spanish-speaking populations.

The information will be presented in Facebook’s Ads Library, a public database that already shows how much businesses, politicians or campaigns spend on each ad that runs on Facebook, Instagram or WhatsApp. Currently, anyone can see how much a Page spent to run an ad and an analysis of the ages, gender, and states or countries an ad is running in.

The information will be available in 242 countries when a social, political or election announcement is released, Meta said in a statement.

Meta collected $86 billion in revenue in 2020 thanks in part to its granular ad targeting system. Facebook’s advertising system is so customizable that advertisers can target just one user out of billions on the platform, if they choose.

Meta said in its announcement on Monday that it would provide researchers with new details indicating the categories of interest advertisers selected when trying to target people on the platform.

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