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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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Vodafone Quits Facebook’s Libra Cryptocurrency Project: Report

The Libra project, which is still in development, aims for the launch of its first version this year

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Vodafone logo. Pixabay

Vodafone has become the latest big player who have decided to quit Facebook’s controversial Libra cryptocurrency project.

Vodafone joins PayPal, Mastercard, Visa, Mercado Pago, eBay, Stripe and Booking Holdings in withdrawing from the controversial project — and is the first company to exit after the Libra Association was formed in October last year, coindesk reported on Tuesday.

The companies left owing to concerns about heightened regulatory scrutiny.

“We can confirm that Vodafone is no longer a member of the Libra Association. Although the makeup of the Association members may change over time, the design of Libra’s governance and technology ensures the Libra payment system will remain resilient,” the Libra Association said in a statement.

“The Association is continuing the work to achieve a safe, transparent, and consumer-friendly implementation of the Libra payment system.”

Despite top-notch firms pulling out, Facebook and 20 partner organisations formally joined the digital currency Libra project in Geneva in October.

The Libra Association said that more than 1,500 entities have expressed an interest in joining the digital currency project.

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Representations of virtual currency are displayed in front of the Libra logo in this illustration picture. VOA

Several US senators have opposed Facebook’s digital coin, arguing that the social networking giant has been irresponsible with user data privacy. They have even called the digital cryptocurrency Libra “delusional” and “dangerous”.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before Congress in October about Libra, defending the idea, but acknowledging the struggles left to overcome.

Libra has failed in its current form, according to the President of Switzerland.

Also Read: Digital Transactions in Delhi-NCR Grew by 235% Last Year: Razorpay

In a media interview, Swiss President and Finance Minister Ueli Maurer stated that Libra does not have a chance of being successful “because the basket of currencies that is deposited in this currency is not accepted by the national (central) banks”.

“The project in this form has actually failed,” Maurer was quoted as saying.

The Libra project, which is still in development, aims for the launch of its first version this year. (IANS)