That has led to conflicts. Meta previously clashed with a group of New York University academics who tried ingesting large amounts of self-reported data on Facebook users to learn more about the platform. The company cut off access to the group last year, citing violations of its platform rules.
The new data that is being added to the Facebook Open Research Transparency project and the Ad Library is a way to share information on political ad targeting while trying to keep data on its users private, the company said.
“By making advertiser targeting criteria available for analysis and reporting on ads run about social issues, elections and politics, we hope to help people better understand the practices used to reach potential voters on our technologies,” the company said in a statement.
With the new data, for example, researchers browsing the Ad Library could see that over the course of a month, a Facebook page ran 2,000 political ads and that 40 percent of the ad budget was targeted to “people who live in Pennsylvania” or “people who are interested in politics.”
Meta said it had been bound by privacy rules and regulations on what types of data it could share with outsiders. In an interview, Jeff King, a vice president in Meta’s business integrity unit, said the company had hired thousands of workers over the past few years to review those privacy issues.