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Links for 2020-01-15

  • Facebook Ad Library Showed Just How Unreliable Facebook’s Security System For Elections Is

    On Dec. 10, just two days before the United Kingdom went to the polls, some 74,000 political advertisements vanished from Facebook’s Ad Library, a website that serves as an archive of political and issue ads run on the platform. [….] Facebook has said it will not fact-check political ads or restrict the ability for campaigns to target people. Instead, it said it will provide transparency with tools like the Ad Library, the Ad Library report, and the Ad Library API, so the public, researchers, and journalists can monitor how elections play out on the platform. But that only works to the degree that those tools operate properly. It was only the news media’s reporting that brought the issue out into the open. “The fact that they could have an outage like this that went up to the day before an election, and they didn’t really publicly communicate,” Laura Edelson, a computer scientist at NYU whose work involves using the API, told BuzzFeed News, “that’s just not how you treat a security system. That’s what this is — this is a security system for elections.”

    (tags: facebook ads politics uk-politics transparency microtargeting social-media)