“Fight over online political ads heats up ahead of midterms”


Get ready for Facebook versus the researchers: Round 2.

With just over four months to go before midterm elections, academics at New York University are gearing up for another battle with Facebook over how to track digital ads after their first attempt got them banned from the company’s ad database after the 2020 presidential election.

At stake is how transparent Facebook should be about how people are targeted with partisan messages and how much data it should give to outside researchers. That standoff is heating up ahead of the midterms.

On Wednesday, the NYU researchers launched a searchable database of Facebook digital political ads they’ve managed to pull together despite the ban, putting them right back in the company’s crosshairs.

“I’m scared of getting sued. But what I’m more scared of is another Jan. 6,” said Laura Edelson, one of the academics behind the project and co-lead at NYU’s Cybersecurity for Democracy project.

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