On a recent Lawfare podcast, Knight Institute Litigation Director Alex Abdo challenged Facebook’s decision to shut down the accounts of two New York University researchers, Laura Edelson and Damon McCoy, who use a research tool they developed called Ad Observer to study the ads Facebook hosts on its platform. (The Institute represents Edelson and McCoy in their personal capacities.)

Abdo observed that independent research of the platform is essential to public understanding of the effect that it is having on society, and he expressed concern at Facebook’s efforts to shut down that research. “Ad Observer is by no means the only research project that Facebook has tried to shut down,” Abdo told podcast hosts Quinta Jurecic and evelyn douek. 

Listen to the full podcast below.