Investigating Political Ads Datasets

This is a workshop for journalists and data enthusiasts. The instructors - Nayantara Ranganathan and Manuel Beltrán - will introduce participants on how to work with political advertising data from social media platforms. The instructors will cover a basic 101 of the transparency framework, background information required to understand the data, and investigate (and frame) questions from a sample dataset.

The workshop plan includes:

  1. Context for understanding political advertising data.
  2. Working with a deceiving dataset; understanding the parameters of data, data collection and limits of such datasets.
  3. Investigate one of the following questions:
  • Ads that violate silence periods
  • Ad spends of the large corporations against their investments
  • Calculate ad expenditure

Workshop details:

  1. To attend this workshop, participants must participate with their laptops.
  2. Participants are also required to bring ideas for what they want to investigate in the ad datasets. The ideas discussion will take place in the comments section.
  3. The workshop is of 90-120 mins duration.

About the instructors:

  1. Nayantara Ranganathan is a lawyer and researcher studying politics and culture of digital technologies. She worked at the Internet Democracy Project, applying feminist methods of research and practice to questions of data governance. She co-founded Persuasion Lab, a project to explore new forms of political propaganda on social media.
  2. Manuel Beltrán is an artist and activist. In 2015 he founded the Institute of Human Obsolescence through which he explores the future of labor, the social and political implications of our relationship with technology, and the economic and governance systems surrounding the production of data. He is also the co-founder of the Persuasion Lab.

Participation: The workshop is limited to 20 participants. Registered participants will receive the Zoom link for participating in the session.

References and links:

  1. - Investigating Political Advertisements on Facebook
  3. - website and archive
  5. This Tool Lets You See Facebook’s Targeted Political Ads All Over the World -

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