• Ad Observatory

    See our analysis of Facebook advertising, and search for messaging trends, microtargeting, views by state, and more!

  • Ad Observer

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


  • Universal Digital Ad Transparency

    Many of the largest social media platforms – Facebook, Google, Snapchat, and Twitter – maintain some form of public ad archive. However many of these archives are incomplete, poorly implemented, hard to access by researchers and have very different formats and modes of access. A group of 15 researchers proposes new standard for universal ad disclosure that should be met by every platform that publishes digital ads.

  • Public Support for Ad Observer

    In October 2020, more than 80 research, journalism, civic tech, privacy organizations and individuals signed a call to Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg to retract a cease and desist order against NYU researchers' Ad Observer plug-in tool, which allows Facebook users to volunteer to contribute information about the ads and ad targeting they encounter on the platform. Facebook also demanded that the project delete all the data it has collected. This issue remains ongoing.

Research Articles

Data sets

  • AdObserver Data

    Public dataset of political ads observed by users of our browser extension.

  • Facebook Ad Library Data

    Public dataset of ads we have collected from Facebook’s Ad Library for the US, Canada, and the UK. Access is limited to verified academic researchers and journalists who have access to Facebook’s Ad Library API, and managed by Harmony Labs.

  • Facebook Transparency Reports

    Public dataset of historical transparency reports published by Facebook.


  • Github

    Open-source code for Ad Observatory, our analysis and data collection.

Tutorial Videos