The US of Anxiety Wants to Hear from You

The US of Anxiety Wants to Hear from You

By WNYC Studios

Notes from America

Thursday, 9 August

A record number of women are running for office this primary season, which means there's a groundswell of energy around targeting female voters with campaign ads.

For our next season of the United States of Anxiety, we’re focusing on power and gender, and we’ve partnered with ProPublica to look at how political advertising targets people of different genders differently on Facebook.

Unlike broadcast television ads, which are heavily regulated, we have no idea how individual voters are micro-targeted on Facebook. It’s still the Wild West. Nor do we know about potentially unethical or misleading advertising that may be happening.

We do know from the Cambridge Analytica scandal that much of the misinformation spread in 2016 targeted people based on their race and gender. And we know that this is an election in which gender is expected to be a decisive factor.

What can you do?

Download the ProPublica Ad Tracker Extension - You can download the Facebook Political Ad Collector from the Chrome Web Store or the Mozilla Add-ons Store. NOTE: ProPublica is NOT collecting any private information from you. The plugin simply copies the ads you are seeing in your unique feed. You can read more about how ProPublica is protecting your privacy here. See the ads that other people are seeing - take a look through ProPublica’s database of political ads Send us tips - Have you seen any political ads that appear to target you by your gender? Or target you by your race? Have you seen any political ads that appear to celebrate women? Or any ads that seem misogynistic? Take a screenshot and email us at to tell us what you’re seeing. 

By doing this, you'll be part of groundbreaking research — remember this is the first election cycle since Facebook changed its policies. And you'll also be helping WNYC and ProPublica bring you reporting and analysis about these campaign ads.

To get started, visit


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