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Uni tracks election social media spending

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A Queensland university has launched an online tracker to map social media spending trends during the federal election campaign.

The dashboard designed to track spending trends of election candidates has been launched by the University of Queensland.

Experts in political and computer sciences have joined forces to build the UQ Election Ad Data Project to trace and analyse data on Facebook election advertising during the 2022 campaign.

Watch the latest news on Channel 7 or stream it for free on 7plus >>

According to the Australia Institute, rules and regulations surrounding election campaign spending remain almost non-existent.

Social media ads micro-target specific audiences using personal data to personalise advertising messages and make it challenging to identify the claims of political parties and candidates.

“The public is also entitled to know how ads are being targeted to users,” the institute warned.

The UQ dashboard will update every six hours, providing a systematic analysis of Facebook advertising produced during the election campaign.

“The project will shed light on spending, targeting and thematic trends by those seeking to shape perceptions during the election campaign,” Project co-lead Associate Professor Gianluca Demartini said.

“The initiative draws on classic and novel techniques in computer science so that citizens and the media can better understand the digital ecosystem of advertising on Facebook during the campaign.”

Crucially, the project will also monitor the social media spending of outlets seeking to influence the outcome of the election, co-lead Dr Glenn Kefford said

“Our goal is to make important contributions to discussions about the role of digital campaigns, not only in terms of which organisations are spending money and where, but also what these patterns tell us about the nature of Australian democracy,” Dr Kefford said.


A Queensland university has launched an online tracker to map social media spending trends during the federal election campaign.

The dashboard designed to track spending trends of election candidates has been launched by the University of Queensland.

Experts in political and computer sciences have joined forces to build the UQ Election Ad Data Project to trace and analyse data on Facebook election advertising during the 2022 campaign.

Watch the latest news on Channel 7 or stream it for free on 7plus >>

According to the Australia Institute, rules and regulations surrounding election campaign spending remain almost non-existent.

Social media ads micro-target specific audiences using personal data to personalise advertising messages and make it challenging to identify the claims of political parties and candidates.

“The public is also entitled to know how ads are being targeted to users,” the institute warned.

The UQ dashboard will update every six hours, providing a systematic analysis of Facebook advertising produced during the election campaign.

“The project will shed light on spending, targeting and thematic trends by those seeking to shape perceptions during the election campaign,” Project co-lead Associate Professor Gianluca Demartini said.

“The initiative draws on classic and novel techniques in computer science so that citizens and the media can better understand the digital ecosystem of advertising on Facebook during the campaign.”

Crucially, the project will also monitor the social media spending of outlets seeking to influence the outcome of the election, co-lead Dr Glenn Kefford said

“Our goal is to make important contributions to discussions about the role of digital campaigns, not only in terms of which organisations are spending money and where, but also what these patterns tell us about the nature of Australian democracy,” Dr Kefford said.

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