The API lets users sift the archive's data by who created the ad, its start and end date, and performance data like total spend and impressions. They can also see demographics of age, gender and location of those whom the advertisements reached. This should help users make sense of large volumes, something others (like Google) might add to their own political ad archives.
The social network will only open it up to a select group of publishers, academics and researchers at first, and farm feedback from them to improve the API before a larger rollout. Their input will be the basis of an Archive report that will start coming out in September, Facebook director of product management Rob Leathern wrote in a blog post. Interested parties can apply to access the API here, though they will only be considered after the initial testing phase.