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Facebook to provide data on targeted political ads to researchers

FILE PHOTO: A 3D-printed Facebook logo is seen placed on a keyboard in this illustration

(Reuters) - Facebook Inc said on Monday it would provide academic researchers information on how political ads were targeted in the lead-up to the presidential election in the United States last year.

The social media giant said the data would include targeting criteria, such as location and interests, selected by advertisers running social issue, electoral or political ads.

Academics and researchers can apply for access to this information through the Facebook Open Research & Transparency (FORT) platform on Feb. 1, Facebook said in a blog post, adding that the data package would cover more than a million ads that ran between Aug. 3 and Nov. 3. (https://bit.ly/3a3L91r) Both Facebook and Alphabet Inc's Google have currently paused political ads after the presidential election as part of measures to police misinformation and other abuses.

(Reporting by Akanksha Rana in Bengaluru and Elizabeth Culliford in New York; Editing by Ramakrishnan M.)