'In a worrying development, Facebook is actively altering its code to prevent advertising transparency tools and plugins from functioning. This is especially troubling as major elections take place worldwide this year.
Tools from US investigative journalism site ProPublica, Mozilla and British group WhoTargetsMe have all encountered difficulties and become largely defunct in recent weeks as a result of consistent and ongoing changes to Facebook’s code. Specifically, these tools were designed to show the public exactly how they were being targeted by advertisers
WhoTargetsMe co-founder Sam Jeffers believes Facebook is “deliberately obfuscating their code,” claiming that when transparency advocates alter their tools to adapt to Facebook’s new setup, the tech firm quickly alters the code, locking them out once again.
In addition, ProPublica also established a database of political ads from across the spectrum to better inform Facebook users about what to watch out for on their newsfeeds. However, the social media giant opted not to incorporate the database into its transparency initiatives.
Instead, Facebook launched its own database but its scope is far more limited than ProPublica’s: it is only available in three countries (US, UK and Brazil); it doesn’t include targeting data that explains why the ads were shown and to whom; and it has major blind spots in terms of US political advertising with gun rights, electoral reform groups, and anti-corruption initiatives all somehow failing to classify as political advertising.
“We regularly improve the ways we prevent unauthorized access by third parties like web browser plugins to keep people’s information safe,” Facebook spokesperson Beth Gautier told ProPublica in a statement.
“This was a routine update and applied to ad blocking and ad scraping plugins, which can expose people’s information to bad actors in ways they did not expect.”'
Read more: Facebook blocks transparency tools as one third of world gets ready to vote
Did you like this article?
Thank you for your vote!
19 July 2019
Google and Facebook are tracking users as they watch PORN with almost half of adult sites exposing details of YOUR private sexual fantasies, study claims
18 July 2019
Facebook says posting about dietary supplements is a “violation,” but issuing death threats against conservatives is a-okay
From our advertisers
From our advertisers