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If you scrolled through Facebook at any time during the 2016 election cycle, you were likely inundated with political ads. A significant number of those ads were purchased by foreign actors, with the intent of sowing discord and influencing the election. Last fall, we reported on several examples, including how social media was used to spark racial animus.
The midterm elections are just a few short months away, and we can expect to see yet again a slew of political ads about California races on TV, radio and online. Facebook ads, however, offer a layer of sophistication beyond those you see on other platforms. Facebook advertisements are micro-targeted, meaning only you can see them, and that makes it hard to fact-check them.
Recently, Facebook made political advertisers verify who they are and who's paying for their ads. But it's still hard to know what's out there, because these ads are specifically targeted to certain demographics.