Facebook is launching an Ad Archive API for US researchers and publishers that will allow them to analyze political and issue-based ads that run on the platform.
Announced in May when Facebook’s new rules around political and issue-based ads went into effect, the API is now being rolled out to a limited group of US publishers, academics and researchers before Facebook opens it up to a broader audience, according to Facebook’s announcement.
“The API offers ad creative, start and end date, and performance data, including total spend and impressions for ads. It also shows demographics of people reached, including age, gender and location,” writes Facebook Director of Product Management Rob Leathern.
Facebook says the feedback it receives from this initial rollout will help inform the buildout of the Archive report scheduled for release in September.
The Ads Archive API is an offshoot of Facebook’s searchable archive of political and issue ads that was released in May. At the time, Facebook said it was working with news organizations and its Election Commission — the independent group it put together to determine the impact of social media on elections — to launch the API.
“We’re greatly encouraged by trends and insights that watchdog groups, publishers and academics have unearthed since the archive launched in May,” writes Leathern. “We believe this deeper analysis will increase accountability for both Facebook and advertisers.”
Facebook shared a registration link to apply for access to the API when it has a broader rollout: Facebook Ad Archive API.
This is all part of Facebook’s effort to fight misinformation and safeguard its platform from bad actors aiming to distribute false and malicious content in order to influence elections.
Facebook has made a number of efforts to be more transparent about its process to monitor content and protect user data. In addition to refining the amount of information available to API developers, Facebook released its first-ever transparency report in May, updated policies around political ads and continues to let the public know when it has removed malicious accounts.
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