After the Cambridge Analytica data scandal, Facebook faced a harsh campaign of criticism across the world, which caused great loses to Facebook stock, users, and investors. Since then, Facebook attempts to solve this issue by improving its security and policies by launching a set of updates, decisions, and tools. As a part of its ongoing efforts, a few days ago, Facebook announced on its official blog the availability of the Ad Archive API, which enables the US researchers and journalists to more easily analyze Facebook ads related to politics or issues of national importance.
As a test, The Facebook Ad Archive API will be available only for a group of publishers, academics, and researchers in the US before opening it up more broadly, as reported by Facebook.
The Facebook Ad Archive API offers a great set of features, such as ad creator, start and end date, and performance data, including total spend and impressions for ads. It also shows the demographics of people reached, including age, gender, and location.
As explained by Facebook:
“We believe this deeper analysis will increase accountability for both Facebook and advertisers.”
As a reminder, Facebook’s efforts began in October 2017 when it was announced that only authorized advertisers will be able to run electoral ads on Facebook or Instagram.
Then, in April 2018, Facebook extended its requirements and conditions to anyone that wants to show “issue ads” — like political topics that are being debated across the country. It also pointed out that they’re working with third parties to develop a list of key issues, in addition to showcasing its conditions to create electoral ads, which were:
Advertisers should get authorized by Facebook.
Advertisers will need to confirm their identity and location.
They will be prohibited from running political ads — electoral or issue-based — until they are authorized.
These ads will be clearly labeled in the top left corner as “Political Ad.”
In addition to showing “paid for by” information.
In the same announcement, Facebook also pointed to that they will use artificial intelligence to help find advertisers that should have gone through the authorization process but did not and it provided the ability to report an unlabeled political ad.
After that, In May 2018, Facebook made big changes to the way ads with political content work on Facebook to help prevent abuse, especially during elections, which made sure that all election-related and issue ads on Facebook and Instagram in the US must be clearly labeled, including a “Paid for by” disclosure from the advertiser at the top of the ad.