Cybersecurity for Democracy

Cybersecurity for Democracy is a research-based effort to expose online threats to our social fabric – and recommend how to counter them. We are part of the Center for Cybersecurity at NYU.

The Ad Observatory is one of the best sources available to understand how political advertisements are being deployed on social media.

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Ad Observatory

Note: As of August 3, Facebook has effectively stalled our Ad Observatory project by suspending Facebook accounts of Cybersecurity for Democracy team members. Lawmakers, regulators, and civil society groups are stepping up to support this project. Check "Policy" and "Media" for latest developments, and sign up to receive updates!

Install Ad Observer

Help out by contributing your Facebook and YouTube ads by installing the Ad Observer plug-in tool


Recent Medium Posts

Ad Observer over collection incident report

Tl;dr: The Ad Observer team discovered that a code formatting change by Facebook led to Ad Observer’s inadvertent collection of the top public comments on ~200 Facebook ads. None of these comments were seen by anyone other than NYU researchers. The researchers deleted all…

Testimony of Laura Edelson, NYU Cybersecurity for Democracy

Before the Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight, U.S. House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Hearing on “The Disinformation Black Box: Researching Social Media Data” September 28, 2021 Good afternoon Chairman Foster, Ranking Member Obernolte, and the members of…

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