An online battle for votes is raging across Cumbria ahead of the general election as political parties 'micro-target' residents through so called dark ads on their Facebook accounts.

Concern is growing over the use of the tailored adverts which appear within the newsfeed of those using the popular social media tool.

The multi-million pound practice, which is entirely unregulated, involves political parties paying for a variety of adverts to appear on the Facebook page of targeted groups of people in a bid to sway their vote at the polls on June 8.

It is thought to have been used extensively in the run up to the Brexit referendum as well as during the US presidential race between Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton.

Now, the News and Star has teamed up with the Bureau of Investigative Journalism to help expose the adverts each political party is paying to have appear on the Facebook pages of residents in Cumbria - and the age, gender and interest groups they have in their sights.

But we need your help.

People within all six constituencies across the county are already taking part, including residents in Carlisle, Workington, Penrith and the Border and Copeland, but more are being urged to contribute to the investigation by downloading Who Targets Me to their web browser.

This specially created ad-tracker, which does not store any personal data, tells Facebook users when a dark ad appears in their newsfeed.

Anonymous data on that ad will then be collated and used to provide a snapshot of how political campaigns have used tailored adverts to target demographic groups across the county.

To take part, go to the website

Who Targets Me

and follow the simple instructions.

Working alongside the Bureau of Investigative Journalism's new data unit; Bureau Local in a first of its kind investigation, we will then reveal the unseen, online scramble for votes across our area by the UK's internet-savvy political campaign teams.