TOP News

Australia: Facebook's political ad tracker suffers major malfunction

Jennifer Aniston: I'm prone to agoraphobia

  Jennifer Aniston: I'm prone to agoraphobia Jennifer Aniston admits she's barely been anywhere amid the COVID-19 pandemic.The 52-year-old actress has experienced a fear of certain situations amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and has barely socialised during the ongoing health crisis.

Social media giant Facebook's efforts to show it can be a responsible player in Australia's democracy has suffered a blow as the federal election campaign swings into action.

The ad library report from Facebook's parent company Meta, which tracks political ads across Facebook and Instagram, has not displayed new data since Monday last week — the first official day of campaigning.

It leaves journalists, voters, transparency advocates and political groups unable to see how much money candidates, parties and campaign groups have spent on election ads in recent days and which states are receiving the most election content.

Rohingya sue Facebook for $150bn for fuelling Myanmar hate speech

  Rohingya sue Facebook for $150bn for fuelling Myanmar hate speech Complaint claims algorithms that power the company promote disinformation that turns into violence.The complaint, lodged in a California court, said the algorithms that power the US-based company promote disinformation and extreme thought that translates into real-world violence.

Facebook conceded there had been a fault in a note posted to its status page on Friday, Australian time. "We are aware of an issue causing the Ad Library Report to be delayed," a Meta spokeswoman said. "Our engineering team is working to resolve the issue as quickly as possible."

Data on individual pages is being updated, so individual ads are visible. While Google's transparency report is online, it lacks the easily accessible breakdown of expenditure by day or week that Meta usually provides.

Facebook has a poor reputation for safeguarding democracy globally after incidents including the Cambridge Analytica scandal, where data from millions of people was harvested and used to inform Donald Trump's campaign for the US presidency in 2016.

Trump’s Next Coup Has Already Begun

  Trump’s Next Coup Has Already Begun January 6 was practice. Donald Trump’s GOP is much better positioned to subvert the next election.The prospect of this democratic collapse is not remote. People with the motive to make it happen are manufacturing the means. Given the opportunity, they will act. They are acting already.

The company introduced an advertising archive in the US in 2018 alongside "paid for by" labels on political and issue ads in response to concerns about online misinformation and foreign interference in democracies. Facebook's chief product officer Chris Cox said at the time that the changes would keep "the public discourse strong".

The publicly accessible ad library details the reach of paid for posts, the money spent on it and the broad demographic groups being targeted. These details are preserved for seven years. When the report is working properly, data on new ads is added within 24 hours of a post going online.

These initiatives - including a request for authorisation for all political and election ads - were rolled out in Australia in 2020.

Chris Cooper, executive director of non-for-profit organisation Reset Australia, which works to counter digital threats to democracy, said the failure to update the report was a major issue.

Social media ads were a key weapon in the last campaign. Now they're getting expensive

  Social media ads were a key weapon in the last campaign. Now they're getting expensive The power to bombard voters with highly targeted ads on Facebook and Instagram will be more limited compared with previous election campaigns.The price hikes, which some digital industry experts pegged at 150 per cent since the last election, have made "microtargeted" ads where voters receive messages tailored to their personal information such as their age, gender and earning, particularly costly.

"They're taking inadequate measures to start off with and now not even delivering on its inadequate measures," Cooper said. "It is a tool for journalists, researchers and society to hold some of the advertisers accountable in a way that Facebook doesn't. For us, it's a considerable problem that I can't believe they're getting away with.

"If there's an engineering fault or a problem at Facebook, they will normally resolve that within 24 or 48 hours because it matters, and they throw everything at it. But it seems like this problem obviously isn't impacting profits. It's really only impacting the integrity of the Australian election, which, if that mattered to them, would have been resolved by now."

The University of Canberra's Digital News Report 2021 says that 52 per cent of Australians access most of their news from social media. This has coincided with a rapid rise in political parties and other campaigning organisations increasing their spending on social media.

In the 30 days to April 11, the United Australia Party, funded by billionaire Clive Palmer, spent about $136,000 on ads with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram. Treasurer Josh Frydenberg spent $59,173. Climate 200, the activist group backing many independent candidates, spent $121,434. Federal Labor spent $69,039 and the Liberal Party $75,091.

Twitter banned all political advertising in 2019, saying the advanced targeting available on social media introduced particular risks for politics as opposed to ordinary commercial marketing.

TikTok also does not allow political advertising on its platform.

The Business Briefing newsletter delivers major stories, exclusive coverage and expert opinion. Sign up to get it every weekday morning.

Forest-Lovers and Cops Face Off Over Luxury Home Project .
On Monday morning, a person known as Nuthatch climbed a pine tree inside an urban forest in Ann Arbor, Michigan, to stop a national developer of McMansions from bulldozing hundreds of landmark trees to make room for a subdivision of luxury homes. “We don’t do this for fun. Certainly, being up here in the canopy and surrounded by the sounds of the forest is a lovely place to be,” Nuthatch said in a dispatch issued from their portaledge. They were temporarily sheltering in a doomed tree inside a future Toll Brothers development called Concord Pines, hoping to stall the destruction.

See also