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Does Facebook’s Ad Tool Mislead Voters?

The social network’s transparency function blocks users who get too curious.
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Facebook Inc. users who are worried that advertisers harvested their data to manipulate them with political propaganda have a potentially powerful tool to break the spell: a button on the corner of each Facebook ad that says, “Why am I seeing this?"

Yet, rather than providing unfiltered transparency, this Facebook function is instead feeding users frequently misleading—and sometimes untrue—reasons for why they’ve been targeted, Bloomberg Businessweek tests of the function suggest. The findings are corroborated by a new academic study of thousands of test ads that found Facebook’s explanations, “often omitting key details that would allow users to understand and potentially control the way they are targeted.”