PoliDashboard is a data visualization tool designed to help voters, journalists, and campaign staffers to learn about the political and social issue ads that are being shown to users on Facebook and its various other products including Instagram. The data is automatically updated every four hours via the Facebook Ad API.

The dashboard is developed by the Social Media Lab at Toronto Metropolitan University as part of an international election transparency initiative. Country-specific modules are presented in partnership with various academic and civic partners in countries where the Facebook Ad Library is available. The open source code of Polidashboard is now available on GitHub.

The aim of the dashboard is two-fold: 1) to put a spotlight on people and organizations vying for voters’ attention on social media, and 2) to bring more transparency to online political discourse. Specifically, PoliDashboard features information about political advertisers and the ads that they are currently running on Facebook and its various other online services, including Instagram. It is designed to give voters a bird’s eye view of how individual advertisers, such as political parties, spend their ad budget on Facebook as a whole and who they are targeting with their various ads based on age, gender and geography. 

Partner Institutions:

Team Members

  • Original Concept and Design:  Anatoliy Gruzd and Philip Mai
  • Lead Developers: Nikolai Krause (2018-2022), Nadia Conroy (2016), Shawn Menzies (2015)

Have an idea for improving the dashboard? Wish we reported some other stats? We welcome comments and suggestions for improving the dashboard. Please contact us via info[at]socialmedialab.ca. 

Social Media Lab

Located in the heart of downtown Toronto, the Social Media Lab is an interdisciplinary research laboratory at Ted Rogers School of Management at Toronto Metropolitan UniversityThe lab studies how social media is changing the way people and organizations communicate, share information, conduct business and form communities online, and how these changes impact society. The lab’s research seeks to advance the public’s understanding of the benefits and pitfalls of social media adoption.

The Social Media Lab was established in 2010 and is the first of its kind in North America. It is led by co-directors, Anatoliy Gruzd (PhD) – Dir. of Research and Philip Mai (JD) – Director of Business and Communications. The lab is internationally recognized and attracts a diverse range of outstanding multidisciplinary scholars from around the world. It is a leader in social media studies and is the convener of the International Conference on Social Media and Society (#SMSociety).