AdLens is a team of activists, journalists, researchers, data analysts. We work together for more transparency of political ads on Facebook.
We are a collective, our work is a citizen science project. We don't get funding, and our contributions are made by the efforts of volunteers. Core members are founders Jan Steurs (social media marketeer) and Jehanne Bergé (journalist), Geert van Damme (developer / data scientist) and Aubry Touriel (journalist), but over 20 people have already contributed in various ways to the AdLens project.
AdLens was created in January 2021 after a group of people decided to put their talents together. We noticed quite a lot of political ads in Belgium and a lack of technical knowledge by journalists on how to report on this, leading to incomplete information. Therefore, we developed a methodology to filter data from the Facebook Ad Library, and group them per political party. We publish the results in reports, which we send to journalists, researchers and interested partners.
We cover over 30 European countries with monitoring for social media advertising by political parties, candidates and even third party advertising. Our datasets include overviews of the most spending political parties and most spending political candidates in Europe. Indepth reporting (an overview per party) is possible for Belgium and Netherlands, and we are looking for partners to apply our methodology for other European countries.
AdLens is aiming to provide indepth reports for all of Europe by the end of 2022.