With the election finally decided, it is clear that the 2020 election was far from predictable. Several key voting demographics defied polling and created an unexpected outcome. In this article, we take a look at the “Latinos for Trump” Facebook page and how ads were used to influence this key demographic of voters.
This report summarizes the challenges and concerns that the Illuminating project’s team encountered when using Facebook’s Ad Library to conduct research on the 2020 U.S. presidential election. We provide examples of each problem and explain why hindering the transparency of the online campaigning ecosystem poses a threat to campaign advertising research by academics and journalists. Our report concludes with recommendations that would help make Facebook’s Ad Library more accessible and transparent to journalists, researchers, and the general public.