January 27, 2022

Research Tools: Searchable Archive of Facebook and Instagram Ads With Political Content Goes Live

UPDATE: This new article from ProPublica about the database introduced below is an interesting and useful read.
See: “What Facebook’s New Political Ad System Misses”
See Also: ProPublica’s “Political Ads on Facebook” Database
See Also: Political Ad Collector

From Facebook:

Starting today, all election-related and issue ads on Facebook and Instagram in the US must be clearly labeled – including a “Paid for by” disclosure from the advertiser at the top of the ad. This will help ensure that you can see who is paying for the ad – which is especially important when the Page name doesn’t match the name of the company or person funding the ad.

The archive contains ads that launched on or after May 7, 2018. Ads in the archive will be available for up to 7 years.

When you click on the label, you’ll be taken to an archive with more information. For example, the campaign budget associated with an individual ad and how many people saw it – including their age, location and gender.


That same archive can be reached by anyone in the world at facebook.com/politicalcontentads. People visiting the archive can see and search ads with political or issue content an advertiser has run in the US for up to seven years.

Advertisers wanting to run ads with political content in the US will need to verify their identity and location.


We know that outside experts, researchers, and academics can also help by analyzing political advertising on Facebook. It’s why we’re working closely with our newly-formed Election Commission and other stakeholders to launch an API for the archive.

Read the Complete Announcement

See Also: Q&A on Transparency for Electoral and Issue Ads (via Facebook)

See Also: Hard Questions: Why Doesn’t Facebook Just Ban Political Ads? (via Facebook)

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.