LGBTQ Content Filtering: Update #3

So I have been continuing to look at the Facebook ad library and policies, and I realized I have made a mistake. When searching through the Facebook ad library, searching with keywords as I have been doing (like “lgbt”, “lgbt”,”gay”, “lesbian”, etc) ONLY shows ads that have the “social issues, elections, or politics” classification. In order to see both ads with this label and without it, one must search for an explicit Facebook page and then look at the ads they have posted. So, for the purposes of my project, I’m going to both collect ads that come up through keyword searches and ads on individual pages Doing this, I hope to find that 1) there are many LGBTQ related ads that are not political in nature, but still are marked as such; and 2) what differentiates the few LGBTQ ads not marked under this category.


I am currently in the middle of the same authorization process that all advertisers go through to run ads related to “social issues, elections, or politics” that I mentioned in my last blog post. This primarily includes answering questions about where you plan to post ads, uploading pictures of valid ID (Driver’s License, State, or Passport), and giving Facebook a valid mailing address. They send a letter to the address, with a code for finishing the verification process. I’m mainly doing this so I have firsthand experience with the process, and so I have access to the Facebook Ad Library API, basically a way of automatically analyzing and working with data in the Ad Library. I’m hoping to have a collection of ads at data, to go along with my final research paper. From just scrolling in the library, I’ve noticed that non-political ads marked as political range in everything from product advertisements, to counseling sessions, to club events can get marked and taken down. So, besides the obvious financial implications of having an ad unfairly removed, hindering access to social events or personal resources can have personal, mental, and social detriments for the community.


Although the ad process has become a focal point of my project, I’m still looking to understand how LGBTQ content is dealt with by Facebook in other areas of the user experience. So on the other side of post’s being taken down, I’m going to look at how Facebook’s micro-targeting works with regards to specifically targeting LGBTQ users.