Facebook annoyed at being the bad guy

Facebook has thrown a tantrum, because an ad transparency project keeps pointing out the failings in Facebook’s political ads campaign.

Using a browser add-in, it looks at what adverts are shown to the user and reports the information back to the research team at NYU. The team then correlates the information against Facebook’s own information about who paid for the ad and how much and how often they were shown.

The NYU team says that their AdObservatory tool provides more information than Facebook’s own Ad Library system.

“Scraping tools, no matter how well-intentioned, are not a permissible means of collecting information from us,” Facebook privacy policy official Allison Hendrix is quoted as saying.
“We understand the intent behind your tool. However, the browser plugin scrapes information in violation of our terms, which are designed to protect people’s privacy.”
It seems the researchers aren’t backing down. On October 22, they published the latest research showing 12 political ads that had slipped under the radar as non-political on Facebook, some of which are still running.

“Instead of correcting its own documented failings and living up to its commitments, Facebook is now demanding that the NYU researchers halt their research,” said Jesse Littlewood, the VP for Campaigns for Common Cause.
“This is an outrageous act of hypocrisy,” he went on. “Rather than combat the rampant disinformation and hate on its platform, Facebook has decided to go after the people who are helping voters understand who is trying to influence their votes.”

As the browser add-in has been manually installed by people partaking in the research project, I don’t see that Facebook has a leg to stand on.


I can’t fathom why people still use this website. Keeping in touch is a terrible excuse, there are much better tools for that now.

Honestly I’d be more embarrassed to have it in my browser history than pornhub at this point.


How’s the joke go… there are two kinds of people… those who admit they use FaceBroke and those that don’t :crazy_face:


All Facebook IP addresses blocked at the DNS level here… The site doesn’t actually exist in my world, it just 404s. (~2,500 Facebook domains are blocked).

Too me it doesn’t look like they are throwing a tantrum. They are just trying to build upon their success in social.

Not really. They said they would be transparent about advertising and political advertising in particular…

Facebook: “We will be transparent about our advertising using this portal, you can see all political advertising here and how it was seen.”

AdObservatory: “Er, you missed these 12 ads, they aren’t on your portal!”

Facebook: “Stop it! Go away! What we say is all that matters!”

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