I used a unique crowd-sourced database of Facebook ads to report on incongruous, jarring political ads targeted to our readers – and patterns in the campaigns’ tactics – during the 2016 election.
Despite the widespread hype over microtargeted digital advertising, it turns out that political campaigns also use broadly targeted ads, at least on Facebook. This led to a sometimes awkward situation: a Clinton supporter shocked and surprised to receive ads from the Trump campaign. I analyzed my database of ads and did all of the reporting, talking to a ordinary people and representatives of the campaigns.
This project made use of a large database of campaign ads from Facebook collected from our readers.