The general election this year is still a month away. But the race in political parties to woo voters through advertisement is almost heading towards north on the social media.
As per the latest monthly report by social media giant Facebook, the ruling political party in the country BJP and its affiliates account for 57 per cent of the total ad spend in February.
They spent Rs 2.37 crore out of Rs 4.13 crore total amount spent on the networking site. The page Bharat Ke Mann Ki Baat alone spent over Rs 1 crore running 1168 ads on Facebook. Followed by pages titled Nation with Namo and MyGov India.
Most of these ads ran without disclaimer.
Facebook as per its notification pulls down such political ads, which do not have labels. Meanwhile, regional parties spent about Rs 19.8 lakh, while Congress and its affiliates spent around Rs 10.6 lakh, the report added.
All three above mentioned pro-BJP pages also sponsored ads with disclaimers and spent over Rs 39 lakh in 840 ads collectively. MyGov India paid Rs 9,13,786 for nine ads in February.
Among the political leaders, who were advertised most, Naveen Patnaik of the Biju Janata Dal topped the list. The Odisha CM’s Facebook page put out 32 ads spending over Rs 8 lakh.
The second most advertised politician’s page was of BJP president Amit Shah, who was second on the list with spending over Rs 2 lakh on an ad post. However, Facebook did not show any ads data for PM Narendra Modi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi.
Besides, political parties, online parenting app BabyChakra and the news app Daily Hunt were also significant ads spenders in last month on the social networking site.
Facebook has about 294 million users in India.
Since 2016, the social networking site has emerged as a platform for political parties to run their views and propaganda to manipulate voter base present there. Facebook also came under huge criticism.
In early 2018, Facebook faced heavy scrutiny following the Cambridge Analytics (CA) scandal. It was alleged to have collected over 87 million users worldwide at the behest of Facebook and has been accused in cases of influencing elections in other countries as well.
Last month, the social networking firm toughened its rules for political advertisement to bring more transparency allowing users to see political advertisements with ‘published by and paid by’ disclaimers. It also placed electoral ads in a searchable online library.