Platforms: it’s time to show your work

Transparency for online advertising is essential for holding platforms accountable

Promising proposals would set ad transparency standards

Jeremy Merrill reported for The Markup on how major corporations target different messages to liberal and conservative audiences
  • Craig Silverman, reporting for Buzzfeed, demonstrated Facebook neglected to include ads from political interest groups that meet its own criteria for “social issues, elections, or politics” in the Facebook Ad Library.
  • An investigation by Jeremy Merrill for The Markup revealed that corporate interests such as ExxonMobil and Comcast often run paid ads that present quite different messages to conservatives and to liberals. but neither the platforms nor the advertisers disclose targeting information that reveals these strategies.
  • Merrill also reported that Google was allowing advertisers to exclude nonbinary people from seeing ads, until his report brought this problem to the company’s attention, again via The Markup.
  • Avaaz published this analysis showing Facebook repeatedly allowed misinformation to be run in political advertising in the leadup to the 2020 elections.

The Quest for Universal Ad Transparency

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