Academics slam Facebook for shutting out research into political ads

Facebook, politics, Targeted advertising

Researchers and lawmakers have slammed Facebook for disabling the accounts of academics who were analyzing political ads on the platform.

The company on Tuesday shut down accounts, apps, pages, and platform access associated with the , which investigates the transparency of online political ads. Facebook said the team’s data collection methods violated the social network’s rules around user privacy.

Laura Edelson, one of the researchers whose accounts was banned, slated Facebook’s actions:

Facebook is silencing us because our work often calls attention to problems on its platform. Worst of all, Facebook is using user privacy, a core belief that we have always put first in our work, as a pretext for doing this. If this episode demonstrates anything it is that Facebook should not have veto power over who is allowed to study them.

Democratic Senator Mark Warner issued a statement defending the project. He described Facebook’s actions as “deeply concerning.”

Why Facebook disabled the accounts

Facebook said the bans were due to concerns about a browser extension used by the researchers.

The group had collected data through a plugin called , which volunteers could download to generate copies of Facebook ads they saw. This information was used to build a public database that researchers can use to investigate who ads are targeting and how they’re funded.

The extension generated powerful insights into ad targeting and misinformation on the social network, but Facebook says the tool violated the company’s terms of service.

In , Mike Clark, Facebook’s product management director, said the project used “unauthorized means” to access and collect data from Facebook:

[The extension] was programmed to evade our detection systems and scrape data such as usernames, ads, links to user profiles and ‘Why am I seeing this ad?’ information, some of which is not publicly-viewable on Facebook. The extension also collected data about Facebook users who did not install it or consent to the collection. The researchers had previously archived this information in a now offline, publicly-available database. 

But Facebook’s response left out an important detail: the users who had data collected without their consent are advertisers.

“Facebook should not be able to cynically invoke user privacy to shut down research that puts them in an unflattering light, particularly when the ‘users’ Facebook is talking about are advertisers who have consented to making their ads public,” tweeted Edelson.

is not in the public interest. Facebook should not be able to cynically invoke user privacy to shut down research that puts them in an unflattering light, particularly when the “users” Facebook is talking about are advertisers who have consented to making their ads public. 3/3

— Laura Edelson (@LauraEdelson2)

The shutdown will deprive researchers of valuable information on ad targeting and misinformation on Facebook. It also heightens concerns about the platform controlling scrutiny of its practices.

Greetings Humanoids! Did you know we have a newsletter all about AI? You can subscribe to it .

News Related

OTHER NEWS

Un Mallorca sin fronteras

© CATI CLADERA (EFE) El surcoreano Lee Kang-in, durante un entrenamiento con el Mallorca. A punto de cumplir entonces los 100 años de vida del club, en enero de 2016, ... Read more »

La opción más probable para el volcán de La Palma es que mantenga una erupción continuada no explosiva

© Kike Rincon (Europa Press) El volcán de Cabeza de Vaca, durante su erupción este lunes. El equipo de coordinación del volcán de La Palma trabaja con todos los escenarios ... Read more »

Wild card leader Red Sox beat stumbling Mets 6-3, 6th in row

1/9Mets Red Sox BaseballBoston Red Sox’s Xander Bogaerts, right, is congratulated by J.D. Martinez (28) after his two-run home run in the fifth inning of a baseball game against the ... Read more »

Amazon app quiz September 22, 2021: Get answers to these five questions to win Rs 10,000 in Amazon Pay balance

E-tailer platform Amazon is back with its regular dose of daily app quiz. As part of the quiz today, Amazon is giving the participants an opportunity to win Rs 10,000 ... Read more »

Far Cry 6: Here's how PC will have an edge over consoles

If you are thinking of purchasing Far Cry 6 on PC, there is some edge you are going to have over those who will play on consoles as the PC ... Read more »

Trump Sues NYT and Niece—Who Calls Him ‘F*cking Loser'

Brandon Bell/Getty Former President Donald Trump has filed a lawsuit against The New York Times, three of its reporters, and his niece—claiming they hatched an “insidious plot” to obtain his ... Read more »

We May Finally Know What Caused That Huge Ozone Hole in The Arctic Last Year

© Copernicus/DLR/BIRA/ESA Ozone levels over the Arctic between 9 March 2020 until 1 April 2020. The unusually large hole that opened up in the ozone layer over the Arctic last ... Read more »

Google is making search better in Gmail for Android users

Searching in Gmail can be a bit cumbersome, especially on smartphones. Compared to that, searching in Gmail on Web is a smoother and more convenient process. That was mainly because ... Read more »

Another reason why iPhone users must upgrade to iOS15 immediately

Apple launched iOS 15 for iPhone users globally on Monday and on the same day, the tech giant silently announced that the new operating system comes with a number of ... Read more »

Vehicle recalls top 2 mln in Jan.-Aug. period

SEOUL, Sept. 22 (Yonhap) — The number of vehicles recalled in South Korea surpassed 2 million in the first eight months of this year, with more quality problems discovered in ... Read more »

Für diese großen Tech-Aktien senkt Goldman Sachs den Daumen

Für US-Technologie-Aktien lief es zuletzt ziemlich gut. Dennoch rät ein Experte der Investmentbank Goldman Sachs dazu, von zweien die Finger zu lassen. © Bereitgestellt von Finanzen.net TANNEN MAURY/AFP/Getty Images • ... Read more »

China pushes hi-tech factories to reassert manufacturing dominance and avoid the ‘middle income trap'

At a factory in China’s north, workers are busy testing an automated vehicle designed to move bulky items around industrial spaces, one of a new generation of robots Beijing wants ... Read more »

CSGO Adds Shorter Matches, Makes Massive Change To Dust 2

If you’re a CSGO fan, get ready for some of the biggest changes the game has seen in years. As part of the Operation Riptide additions, Valve is including a new mode for ... Read more »

PS5 giveaway: here's your chance to win a PlayStation 5 bundle on eBay Australia

It’s been real tough trying to secure a next-gen console in Australia, with PlayStation 5 stock arriving infrequently and often lasting mere minutes before being sold out once again. © ... Read more »

What is hacking — and how can you protect yourself?

Yahoo Life is committed to finding you the best products at the best prices. Some of the products written about here are offered in affiliation with Yahoo. We may receive ... Read more »

All the Best Productivity Features in iOS 15, iPadOS 15 and watchOS 8

As Apple’s WWDC event highlighted back in June, iOS 15, iPadOS 15 and watchOS 8 bring with them a long list of exciting updates. From health to connectivity, Apple’s list ... Read more »

Hyundai, Kia's eco-friendly vehicle sales in US more than double in Aug.

This file photo shows the EV6 all-electric model. (Kia Corp.)Hyundai Motor Co. and its affiliate Kia Corp.’s environment friendly vehicle sales in the United States more than doubled in August ... Read more »

What's the difference between hackers, malware and data breaches?

Yahoo Life is committed to finding you the best products at the best prices. Some of the products written about here are offered in affiliation with Yahoo. We may receive ... Read more »

China's Oppo doubles down on 5G with partner Ericsson as US sanctions-hit Huawei leaves void in smartphone industry

Chinese consumer electronics firm Oppo, the world’s fourth-largest smartphone vendor in the past three quarters, has teamed up with Swedish telecommunications giant Ericsson to pursue advances in 5G technology, with ... Read more »

Ausbeutung, Überwachung und Angst: So schlimm sind die Arbeitsumstände bei Amazon

Immer wieder steht das US-amerikanische Unternehmen Amazon in der Kritik. Kürzlich wurde der Online-Händler von Undercover-Reportern auf die Arbeitsbedingungen untersucht, welche auf schockierende Missstände gestoßen sind. © Bereitgestellt von Finanzen.net ... Read more »

Best Optus mobile plans (September 2021)

Optus mobile plans are seriously compelling, often hitting the sweet spot between data, cost and coverage. However, the telco has recently increased the price of its plans for new customers, ... Read more »

Facebook's Portal Go Looks to Be An Innovative Portable Smart Display

© Facebook Facebook’s newest Portal puts premium video chatting in the palm of your hand with an integrated handle and long-lasting battery. The Download On Tuesday afternoon, Facebook announced two ... Read more »

Hyundai, Kia's eco-friendly vehicle sales in U.S. more than double in Aug.

SEOUL, Sept. 22 (Yonhap) — Hyundai Motor Co. and its affiliate Kia Corp.’s environment friendly vehicle sales in the United States more than doubled in August compared with a year ... Read more »

Slack's new video tool is @here—and you might already be able to use it

Video updates and cross-company digital chats in the place of meetings are part of the vision Slack has for the future of hybrid working. The messaging platform announced these new ... Read more »

New mobile phone museum to launch online next month

The platform will chart the evolution of the mobile phone from 1984 to the present day, containing more than 2,000 unique handsets from 200 different manufacturers. Read more »

Now you can convert any image into a sticker directly from WhatsApp

By Vía Cine Premiere They will agree that one of the most attractive and fun tools to use within the famous instant messaging application are stickers . Although, the app ... Read more »

Frustrated by Your Outdated Phone Plan? Get Ready for Smart Contracts.

As avid smartphone users, we depend on mobile providers to supply us with the network we need to use Facebook, stream shows on Netflix and send photos to our friends, no ... Read more »

Let's Celebrate Ola's All-women Factory, But That's Just a Start

Bhavish Aggarwal, Ola’s founder, made history when he announced an all-women workforce factory. He announced the decision through his Twitter account: “Aatmanirbhar Bharat requires Aatmanirbhar women! Proud to share that ... Read more »

Do you want to digitize your SME? BanBajío offers credits for up to 30 million pesos for the technological transformation of your business

Undoubtedly, the pandemic increased the need for digitization in companies of all sectors and sizes. But not all of them managed to take the step, in many cases due to ... Read more »

Start Your Coding Journey with Python

Many programmers tell you that the best first programming language to learn is Python. That’s due to a number of reasons. First, it’s by far the most popular programming language ... Read more »

Do you want to work in a tech company? These are the skills they are looking for

What are companies looking for today? Over the years we have witnessed technological advances and how every day companies look for trained or experienced people in the technology sector, however, ... Read more »

Major New York Real Estate Company Now Accepting BTC as Payment

Magnum Real Estate is set to accept bitcoin as payment for a three-store retail condominium in Manhattan’s East Side. – be[IN]crypto Major real-estate opportunity for bitcoin investors Magnum Real Estate ... Read more »

Rolls-Royce's first all-electric aircraft successfully flies and marks a milestone in the airline industry: VIDEO

British luxury automaker Rolls-Royce successfully completed the test flight of its first fully electric aircraft . The aircraft, dubbed the Spirit of Innovation , marks a milestone in the airline ... Read more »

8 Zoom Etiquette Rules Everyone Should Follow

Zoom meetings are now a staple in our day-to-day lives and show no signs of going away, even as many employers welcome workers back to their offices. The challenges and ... Read more »

What is a Blockchain and how does it work on Bitcoin?

“Blockchain” , as its English name implies, means chain of blocks . Information is stored in these groupings; The Blockchain’s purpose is to keep unique and unalterable records of the ... Read more »

Blockchains Are the New App Stores

It’s become impossible to not have the attention of cryptocurrency and the technology supporting the industry. It’s become mainstream and there seems to be no clear stop of the disruption. ... Read more »

What are tk domains? The small group of islands that dominates the internet

The world of web domains can be a complicated subject and can often be a considerable expense for entrepreneurs just starting out. For this inconvenience, a company located in an ... Read more »

Free courses from the best universities in Argentina

For many years, Argentina has become a host country for foreign students. The educational quality of its universities, as well as the facilities of its public universities to start an ... Read more »

Airlines cut aircraft fleets amid pandemic-driven slump

Aircrafts queue up at Incheon International Airport. (Yonhap)South Korea’s airlines have drastically reduced their aircraft fleets over the past two years as demand for air travel dried up due to ... Read more »

Mad at Facebook and Instagram? Organizers want you to join The Facebook Logout

Would you log off from Facebook and Instagram for a day? How about three? Social justice and civil rights groups are calling for a nationwide boycott starting Nov. 10 to ... Read more »