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>> Close down NATO.>> Did you see this?>> Abolish their army.>> If you did, it's a glimpse into the secretive world of political campaigning known as dark ads, and they're popping up ahead of Britain's June 8 general election.>> I'm Reuters' Jacob Green. We've been looking at this barely scrutinized campaigning tool that uses personal data held by social networks.
It means they can deliver highly tailored messages potentially unique to you as an individual. The kick of a regulators is it's accountability. It means this
] just could be seen by the sender, a political party and the person receiving it.>> The information commission watchdog is investigating the use of such ads.
Critics warn they could compromise democracy.>> It hugely transgresses the idea of openness. It prevents not just regulators but almost anyone from being able to challenge those claims and being able to say whether they're false, whether they're true, whether they're distorted, whether they're misleading. So, it really represents a significant problem for democracies that have relied so heavily on openness as a key element of modern election.
>> There is a precedent for their impact in the UK. In the EU referendum, both sides used the tool. The official Brexit campaign in particular championed data led online ads as key to their win. In fact, Campaign Director, Dominic Cummings said 98% of their money was spent on digital advertising.
He says they used 1 billion targeted ads, mostly on Facebook weighted heavily to the 10 day period before the 2016 vote. The ads constantly adapted, reinforcing those seen to be most effective. Now, a non-partisan group called Who Targets Me have been set up to try and track their use in this election.
They told us that Labour, the Liberal Democrats and conservatives are dominating the ad traffic.
And with June the 8 fast approaching there were less variations meaning parties were likely to refine their messages. They've stressed a likely only catching around 10% of the traffic, until expenses are filed we simply won't know how extensively political parties have used the technique this time. By then Britain will have already decided.