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The NYU Ad Observatory shows not only how much candidates are spending on Facebook ads both nationally and in their states, but what kinds of messages they are sending. In the Senate race for Arizona, Mark Kelly’s advertising on Facebook focuses on dark money and veterans issues. He is also spending much more than Martha McSally, whose Facebook advertising focuses on messages about the Black Lives Matter movement, the economy and taxes, and law enforcement. Credit: Laura Edelson
Transparency in political ads is vital to ensuring safe and fair elections, but transparency is difficult if advertisers are not required to disclose details about targeting and sources of funding. While TV broadcasters must disclose information about political ads to the public, Facebook, which is used by nearly 70% of Americans and is a source of news for many users, faces no such federal requirements.
Damon McCoy, professor of computer science and engineering at the New York University Tandon School of Engineering, and doctoral student Laura Edelson—the team behind the NYU Tandon Online Transparency Project—are bringing transparency to political advertising with the newly launched, first-of-its-kind tool NYU Ad Observatory.
Designed to help reporters, researchers, thought leaders, policy makers, and the general …
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