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Facebook is rolling out its political ad library internationally ahead of elections in Europe and India this year

Facebook is rolling out its political ad library internationally ahead of elections in Europe and India this year
[Photo: Elliott Stallion/Unsplash]

The company’s political ad library is a publicly searchable database of all the political ads that have appeared on Facebook and Instagram, and it allows anyone to see who paid for an ad, how many people the ad reached, and what demographics the ad was targeted to. Facebook first rolled out its political ad library in the U.S. last May and also has similar libraries for Brazil and the U.K. But today the social media giant has announced it will be rolling out its political ad library globally in the coming months ahead of elections in India, Europe, and Israel:

In advance of the European Parliament election, in late March we will launch additional tools in the EU to help prevent foreign interference and make political and issue advertising on Facebook more transparent. Advertisers will need to be authorized to purchase political ads; we’ll give people more information about ads related to politics and issues; and we’ll create a publicly searchable library of these ads for up to seven years. The library will include information on the range of the ads’ budget, number of people they reached and demographics of who saw the ad, including age, gender and location. These transparency tools for electoral ads will also launch in India in February and in Ukraine and Israel before their elections, with a global expansion before the end of June.

As Facebook notes, the global political ad library won’t be available until later this year. But anyone can see how it currently works for political ads in the U.S., U.K., or Brazil. Simply go to Facebook’s political ads library and select one of the three countries from the drop-down list in the upper-right corner of the screen. Then in the search field, just type in a term related to politics such as “Obama” or “Trump” or even “healthcare.”

The search results will list all the political ads that match the term, and clicking on any one will show you various ad metrics including how the ad performed, what locales it appeared in most frequently, and who paid for it. If the ad contained a video element, you’ll also be able to watch the full video on the ad’s information page.

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