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Political Ad Spend Tops Rs 1.5 cr a Week on Facebook: Report

The Twitter Ads Transparency Centre, on the other hand, on Saturday showed just five accounts that had spent on political ads on the platform in the past week

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This photograph taken on May 16, 2018, shows a figurine standing in front of the logo of social network Facebook on a cracked screen of a smartphone in Paris. VOA

With the first phase of general elections now barely 10 days away, spending for political ads on social media platforms has soared, especially on Facebook where advertisers spent over Rs 1.5 crore during the March 17-March 23 period.

According to data available with the social networking giant’s Ad Library, which includes ads related to politics and issues of national importance that have been run on Facebook or Instagram, advertisers in India have already spent Rs 8.3 crore in less than two months.

The Bharatiya Janata Party’s “Bharat Ke Mann Ki Baat”, continues to lead the spending chart with over Rs 2.2 crore, which is more than one fourth of the total political ad spend on Facebook.

A pro-BJP Page, “My First Vote For Modi”, came second with an overall spending of Rs 61 lakh. This advertiser, which courted controversy for promising in its ads freebies in exchange for pledging “votes for Modi”, increased its spending in recent times, with Rs 46.6 lakh spent just in one week, during the March 17-March 23 period. The ads promising freebies to voters are still running on Facebook.

The data also show that it is the affiliates or supporters of political parties who are drumming up support on social media in favour of their parties. The Facebook page of the BJP, for example, spent just around Rs 9 lakh on ads since February.

The Facebook Page of the Indian National Congress spent around Rs 7 lakh since February, out of which more than Rs 5,40,000 was spent during the seven-day period from March 17- March 23.

It indicates that the Congress party is ramping up its spending on social media as the elections approach, although it lags far behind the BJP and its affiliates.

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FILE – The Facebook app icon is shown on an iPhone in New York. VOA

Some of the regional parties are, in fact, spending more on Facebook than the Congress.

The Facebook Page of the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) President Naveen Patnaik has spent around Rs 35 lakh on ads.

Similarly, the political advocacy group “Indian Political Action Committee”, which is advertising for YSR Congress, spent close to Rs 33 lakh since February. Nearly half of the amount was spent in one week, during the March 17-23 period.

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The trends so far suggest that the BJP is consistently leading the spending with a huge margin, while the Congress and other regional parties are trying to catch up.

The Twitter Ads Transparency Centre, on the other hand, on Saturday showed just five accounts that had spent on political ads on the platform in the past week.

Three of these five accounts have the “Chowkidar” prefix to their name and just two of the five accounts (including Mumbai Congress unit President Milind Deora) have spent over $200. (IANS)

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Facebook Still Hosting NZ Shooting Footage: Report

Facing flak, the social media giant is now exploring restrictions on who can use its “Facebook Live” feature

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A television photographer shoots the sign outside of Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. VOA

Despite Facebook’s claim that the livestreaming video of the March 15 Christchurch shooting that killed 50 people was removed from its platforms, sections of the raw footage are still available for users to watch, the media reported.

According to a report in Motherboard on Friday, certain videos on Facebook and Instagram show sections of the raw attack footage.

“The world’s biggest and most well-resourced social media network is still hosting copies of the violent attack video on its own platform as well as Instagram,” the report claimed.

Some of the videos are slices of the original 17-minute clip — trimmed down to one minute or so — and are open to be viewed by anyone.

In one instance, instead of removing the video, which shows the terrorist shooting and murdering innocent civilians from a first-person perspective, Facebook has simply marked the clip as potentially containing “violent or graphic content”.

One of the clips shows the terrorist walking up to the first mosque he targeted, and opening fire. The video does not show the full attack, and stops at the 01:15 mark.

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Facebook App on a smartphone device. (VOA)

A Facebook spokesperson, however, said “the video did violate our policies and has been removed”.

The Facebook livestreaming of the New Zealand terror attack sparked global outrage. The video was viewed over 4,000 times before it was removed.

The video was later shared in millions on other social media platforms, including Twitter and YouTube.

Also Read- Jack Dorsey Admits Twitter Makes it Easy to Abuse Others

Facing flak, the social media giant is now exploring restrictions on who can use its “Facebook Live” feature.

Earlier this month, New Zealand’s privacy commissioner John Edwards labelled Facebook as “morally bankrupt pathological liars” after the social media platform’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg tried to play down the Facebook livestreaming of Christchurch shooting. (IANS)