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Image credit: Robert Galbraith / Reuters

Reddit lists all political ads and spending in a special subreddit

It has also forced advertisers to leave comments up for 24 hours.
Steve Dent, @stevetdent
April 14, 2020
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Reddit mascots are displayed at the company's headquarters in San Francisco, California April 15, 2014. Reddit, a website with a retro-'90s look and space-alien mascot that tracks everything from online news to celebrity Q&As, is going after more eyeballs, and advertising, by allowing members of its passionate community to post their own news more quickly and easily. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith  (UNITED STATES - Tags: BUSINESS SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY)
Robert Galbraith / Reuters

Reddit has launched a subreddit called r/RedditPoliticalAds that will provide more transparency about political advertising. “In this community, you will find information on the individual advertiser, their targeting, impressions and spend on a per-campaign basis,” Reddit wrote on the announcement post. “We plan to consistently update this subreddit as new political ads run on Reddit, so we can provide transparency into our political advertisers and the conversations their ad(s) inspire.

The site also updated its political ad policies, requiring campaigns to work with Reddit’s sales team and leave comments turned on for at least 24 hours. “We will strongly encourage political advertisers to use this opportunity to engage directly with users in the comments,” it wrote. The latter policy might not have much teeth, however, as advertisers will be allowed to moderate comments, and could remove posts they don’t like.

The subreddit is already stocked with Democratic primary and other ads, showing the amounts spent, impressions, geo-targeting and more. It will show all ads run on the site, including those mistakenly approved and then removed, tagged as “approved in error.” Other tags include “issue ads,” “issue ad 2020” and “candidate ad 2020.” The site will eventually post all ads starting from January 1st, 2019.

The subreddit shows the enormous volume of political ads on the site, which counts 430 million active users per month. (Reddit declined to tell Politico its total political ad revenue.) Facebook, which allows lying in political ads, also keeps a database of political advertisers. Twitter has declined all political advertising since November 2019, saying campaigns should earn reach through follows or shares and "not be compromised by money.”

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