Monitoring of the Venezuelan exodus through Facebook’s advertising platform

Joao Palotti, Natalia Adler, Alfredo Morales-Guzman, Jeffrey Villaveces, Vedran Sekara, Manuel Garcia Herranz, Musa Al-Asad, Ingmar Weber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Venezuela is going through the worst economical, political and social crisis in its modern history. Basic products like food or medicine are scarce and hyperinflation is combined with economic depression. This situation is creating an unprecedented refugee and migrant crisis in the region. Governments and international agencies have not been able to consistently leverage reliable information using traditional methods. Therefore, to organize and deploy any kind of humanitarian response, it is crucial to evaluate new methodologies to measure the number and location of Venezuelan refugees and migrants across Latin America. In this paper, we propose to use Facebook’s advertising platform as an additional data source for monitoring the ongoing crisis. We estimate and validate national and sub-national numbers of refugees and migrants and break-down their socio-economic profiles to further understand the complexity of the phenomenon. Although limitations exist, we believe that the presented methodology can be of value for real-time assessment of refugee and migrant crises world-wide.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0229175
JournalPloS one
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

Cite this

Palotti, J., Adler, N., Morales-Guzman, A., Villaveces, J., Sekara, V., Herranz, M. G., Al-Asad, M., & Weber, I. (2020). Monitoring of the Venezuelan exodus through Facebook’s advertising platform. PloS one, 15(2), [e0229175].