Facebook Killed Research Into Capitol Riot to Protect Itself—Not Users

Facebook Killed Research Into Capitol Riot to Protect Itself


More than a hundred academics, researchers, and technologists signed a letter on Friday denouncing the company over its attempt to silence a “critical watchdog over a powerful corporation.”

“The Ad Observatory enables research that is critical to assessing whether Facebook is living up to its own transparency promises,” the letter says. “It allows researchers to verify that Facebook’s Ad Library is publishing all the ads running on its platform. The Ad Observatory also collects information not available in Facebook’s own Library, including information on why ads are being targeted to specific users. This information is critically important to understanding potential manipulation, as well as the broader civic impacts of advertising, particularly political advertising.”


“We see Facebook’s actions against NYU as part of a long-standing pattern among large technology firms,” it concludes, “all of whom have systematically undermined accountability and independent, public-interest research.”

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