Facebook is trying to stop public interest researchers from NYU from looking into their ad-targeting practices — researchers who’ve already exposed major failures in Facebook’s vetting and fact-checking of political ads on its platform.
That’s outrageous. We need more transparency — not less — when it comes to social media advertising, especially in this all-important election year.
NYU researchers were analyzing the ads that thousands of volunteers — including many Common Cause members — saw on their Facebook feeds. And they discovered that some political advertisers were violating Facebook’s disclosure rules… and that Facebook was letting it happen.
Now, we’ve learned that Facebook has demanded that these researchers halt their efforts — threatening further enforcement action.
That’s right: even while Facebook has rampant disinformation and hate on its platform — the social media giant is instead going after the people who are helping voters understand who’s trying to influence their votes.
We have a fundamental right to know who’s trying to influence our votes and who politicians are targeting with their advertising.
But instead of upholding that right, Facebook is coming after the public interest advocates who want to keep voters informed about the ads it’s making millions of dollars from.
Common Cause proudly supports the NYU team’s investigative efforts. And we hope that you’ll join us in demanding that their important work can continue.
Thanks for all you do,
Devon Nir, Digital Campaigner
and the team at Common Cause