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Using Facebook Advertising Data to Describe the Socio-Economic Situation of Syrian Refugees in Lebanon

While the fighting in the Syrian civil war has mostly stopped, an estimated 5.6 million Syrians remain living in neighboring countries.Of these, an estimated 1.5 million are sheltering in Lebanon. Ongoing efforts by organizations such as UNHCR to support the refugee population are often ineffective in reaching those most in need. According to UNHCR’s 2019 Vulnerability Assessment of Syrian Refugees Report (VASyR), only 44% of the Syrian refugee families eligible for multipurpose cash assistance were provided with help, as the others were not captured in the data. In this project, we are investigating the use of non-traditional data, derived from Facebook advertising data, for population level vulnerability assessment. We evaluate the use of such audience estimates to describe the spatial variation in the socioeconomic situation of Syrian refugees across Lebanon. Using data from VASyR as ground truth, we find that iOS device usage explains 90% of the out-of-sample variance in poverty across the Lebanese governorates. This work adds to growing body of literature demonstrating the value of anonymous and aggregate Facebook advertising data for analysing large-scale humanitarian crises and migration events.

Using Facebook Advertising Data to Describe the Socio-Economic Situation of Syrian Refugees in Lebanon

Authors:
Masoomali Fatehkia, Zinnya del Villar, Till Koebe, Emmanuel Letouzé, Andrés Lozano, Roaa Al Feel, Fouad Mrad, Ingmar Weber

November 2022

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