How does Facebook advertising target its users?

Researchers at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society are seeking participants to help find out how more about how Facebook is using data to target users.

Previous research published in the ACCAN report found:
• Men were three times more likely to see a finance or technology ad, and were more likely to see a business ad
• There was a skew of alcohol ads served to male users
• Gambling ads were overwhelmingly received by men
• Loan savings services were seen by those with lower levels of education attainment

For more info and to join the project visit

Participants are asked to install a secure plugin that tracks the ads that Facebook serves them. Participants get access to the ‘My Archive’ platform. This platform collects all the sponsored ads that Facebook serves you and the tags used to target you. See further information below for accessing the archive.


Welcome @nickels,

I know data privacy issues are important to many Community members. While CHOICE is not directly involved in this project, we’ll be interested to see the outcomes and to hear people’s continuing views on the subject.


I, for one, will be happy to join this project.


Would like to join but cannot. Safari cannot be part of the project.


Not being knowingly part of Facebook, I hope the project still has a positive outcome for consumers.

Of course Facebook is not the only business that uses targeted advertising. I don’t need to ask if Alphabet-Google is listening.


Thank you - it is fantastic to have your support!!


Thank you for your support!! Yes, at this stage due to different browser coding, the plugin has been developed for Chrome, Edge, and Firefox and desktop only.


joined on the pc, but doesn’t work on the iPhone.


I run the Social Fixer app in my Chrome browser, which filters out almost all of Facebook’s ads, apart from a couple of tiny ones that appear down the right-hand side of my feed, and are often comically inappropriate for me (like ads for televangelists, presumably prompted by my trenchant criticism of religion in multiple posts).

So I’m guessing I would be of no use to this research project.

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Hi Greg,

My name is Abdul, and I am the data engineer responsible for the project. To answer your question, let me first mention that you are correct in that certain AdBlockers can inhibit the plugin from identifying advertisements on the News Feed. That said, it does not necessarily mean that your participation is not valuable, as acknowledging and reporting on certain users’ decisions to block advertisements is in itself a valuable research insight.

Thanks for engaging with the conversation :slight_smile:


Okay then: I use four ad-blockers in my main browser. I have ensured that they block any Facebook pingbacks along with Google and Twitter pingbacks. Yes, it is still possible for someone to track me online but I want to make it just that little bit harder.

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That excludes me as well then