Facebook’s parent company Meta said it would start providing more details about how advertisers target people with political ads.
The company’s recent announcement follows years of criticism that social media companies are not open about how campaigns, politicians and special interest organizations target specific groups.
Critics have expressed concern that the groups have been targeted with advertising messages that are misleading or seek to politically divide citizens.
Meta said it would start posting details in July on the demography and the interests of people targeted by advertisements on its Facebook and Instagram networks. The company said it would also share the amount spent by advertisers to target people in different US states.
Meta’s vice president of business integrity, Jeff King, announced the change in an online statement. The decision will allow ad targeting data to be reviewed and released, he said. These ads could be related to social issues, elections and politics. “We hope to help people better understand practices used to achieve potential voters on our technologies,” King added.
The announcement says Meta will provide searchers with new details about the interest groups that advertisers have chosen to target.
The new details could provide insight into how politicians might choose to spread misleading information or controversial political messages between different groups.
Some Democratic interest groups and politicians have long argued that misleading political ads heavily target Spanish-speaking populations.
The information will be available in Meta’s Announcement Library. The library is a public record that already shows how much companies, politicians, and campaigns spend on every ad that runs on Meta’s social media services. Currently, anyone can see how much advertising money has been spent. The library also displays the ages, gender, and states or countries an ad is showing in.
The detailed new information will be available in 242 countries when a social, political or election announcement is released, Meta said.
The company earned $86 billion in 2020, the last major election year in the United States. Experts say Meta’s profits are closely tied to its very detailed ad targeting system. They say Facebook’s advertising system is so customizable that it is possible for advertisers to target a single user among billions of people using the service.
I am Brian Lynn.
The Associated Press and Facebook reported this story. Bryan Lynn adapted the report for VOA Learning English.
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words in this story
demography – nm the study of populations and the different groups that compose them
practice – nm repeatedly doing an activity to improve your ability
potential – nm a possibility when the necessary conditions exist
controversial – adj. causing a lot of disagreements or arguments
Personalize – v. change something to make it suitable for a particular person or purpose