“The problem of false, discriminatory, and predatory advertising online is a serious one that requires innovative strategies for providing transparency and accountability. This hackathon provides an opportunity for team participants to work with consumer rights organisations and academic experts to design new digital tools and approaches for ensuring a better and safer world online. 

It’s time to take the tools that are being used to target and discriminate and put them to better use by turning them back on the commercial platforms that shape our information environment.”

Mark Andrejevic profile picture Professor Mark Andrejevic


We are asking participants to come up with ideas and design thinking approaches for providing public accountability for targeted advertising online. The hackathon will provide participants access to existing tools and data sets as one possible starting point. Any of the following approaches fall within the scope of the challenge:

  • Designing strategies and tools for making sense of the large volumes of data collected by automated ad collection. For example, we have over 300,000 ads collected by the Australian Ad Observatory, complete with metadata about the ads and information about the demographics of people who received the ads. Such strategies might focus on any of the following:
    • Detecting false, misleading, and harmful ads;
    • Discovering bias and discrimination in ad targeting;
    • Detecting predatory advertising
  • Designing tools and approaches for capturing and archiving ads and sponsored content from social media platforms, including TikTok, to see how people are being targeted.
  • Improving on existing tools provided at the Hackathon, including tools that collect ads from Twitter, Facebook, and from Google searches.
  • Developing future strategies for ad accountability.


The team, selected by our judging panel, with the most innovative idea to advancing ad accountability approaches will be awarded with:

  • Return flights to Brisbane
  • One night accommodation in Southbank, Brisbane Meet and greet with ABC’s Story Lab team – A collection of journalists, developers,
    designer, social media and video specialist focused on data-driven, visual
    storytelling for Australian audiences. View their work on ABC Story Lab
  • Present their winning idea at Hack/Hackers – A rapidly expanding international grassroots journalism organisation with thousands of members across four continents. Their mission is to create a network of journalists (“hacks”) and technologists (“hackers”) who rethink the future of news and information.
  • Certificate of Achievement for members of the team with the winning idea!