How To's and Frequently Asked Questions

This page provides how to’s and frequently asked questions for the Australian Ad Observatory project.
To join the project visit the main Australian Ad Observatory project page.


To Access the Ad Archive:

  1. Click on the extension icon in the top right of your browser
  2. Select ADM+S The Australian Ad Observatory from the drop-down menu
  3. Select ‘MY AD ARCHIVE’

Once you install the plugin on your computer you will also have access to the ‘My Archive’ ad platform. This platform allows you to see all the sponsored ads that Facebook has targeted to you. The platform includes the ‘tags’ that Facebook used to decide to serve you the advertisement.

The ad archive showing facebook ads and their tags


If you need extra help – try our step by step interactive installation guide.

If you experience any difficulties during this process, please contact our project team via email at


Why is this study being conducted?

We want to find out what kinds of ads are being seen by Australian users and whether online advertising engages in discrimination and stereotyping.

What does participation involve?

Participation involves downloading our unique browser plugin by following the steps on the website. Once installation is complete, you don’t need to do anything else. The software will query collect the “sponsored” ads that are served to you on Facebook.

What does the plugin do?

Our browser plugin examines the web content of Facebook during regular browsing activity for specific markers that indicate elements that correspond to “promoted” advertising content. This only happens when you are browsing Facebook. When the plugin encounters a web element that it has identified as advertising content it copies the image or video of the ad and sends it back to our database. The plugin also looks for other advertising metadata such as text included within the ad, the advertiser’s name, and external web links contained in the ad itself. The plugin cannot collect or transmit anything that is not an ad, so it is not possible for it to send personally identifiable information such as status updates, or your own Facebook identity details.

How long does the plugin run for?

The plugin will continue to run its search queries until you manually disable it in your browser, or until we deactivate it at the conclusion of the project, on 31 Dec 2022.

Will you see my Facebook posts?

No, the plugin cannot collect or transmit anything that is not an ad, so it is not possible for it to send personally identifiable information such as status updates, or your own Facebook identity details.

Will you access my Friends list?

No, the plugin cannot access your friends list. We do not monitor or collect any non-advertising content

Will the plugin slow my computer down?

The software won’t interfere with the day-to-day operation, nor does it gather any personal information about you. It is restricted in what it collects and is designed to comply with ethics protocols for academic research.

How do I give consent to participate?

During the installation of the plugin you will be directed to a participant information page. Here you will asked to review the information and click the “register” button.

What about privacy and confidentiality?

During the plugin installation, we will also ask you to provide some basic demographic details (e.g. age range, gender, overall location). We use this information to investigate whether different demographic groups see different advertising – but we will not be able to use this information to identify you personally, and you can choose to provide only those details that you are comfortable with.

Who gets access to the data?

Only ADM+S researchers will have access to the data. Please see the Participant Information for further details.

What will happen to the results?

Results will be published during and after the end of the project. It will not be possible to extract any personally identifiable data from the results.

What if I have a concern or complaint regards the conduct of the research project?

ADM+S is committed to research integrity and the ethical conduct of research projects. If you wish to discuss the study with someone not directly involved, particularly in relation to matters concerning policies, information or complaints about the conduct of the study or your rights as a participant, you may contact the QUT Research Ethics Advisory Team on 07 3138 5123 or email

Will the plugin code by publicly available?

Yes, the plugin code is available here at GitHub.

How do I uninstall the plugin?

You can follow these guides to uninstall the plugin for Chrome, Firefox or Edge