The Bharatiya Janata Party was the top advertiser on Facebook on “social issues, elections and politics” over the last 18 months, according to Facebook’s advertisement spending tracker, The Indian Express reported on Thursday. The saffron party spent over Rs 4.61 crore on Facebook ads since February 2019, followed by the Congress party at Rs 1.84 crore, according to data till August 24.
Among the top 10 spenders on Facebook in the 18 months were four other advertisers linked with the BJP, including three that share the same address in Delhi as the party’s national headquarters. These four are community pages “My First Vote for Modi” (spending Rs 1.39 crore) and “Bharat Ke Mann Ki Baat” (Rs 2.24 crore); a website – Nation With Namo (Rs 1.28 crore) – and a page (Rs 0.65 crore) affiliated to BJP leader and former MP RK Sinha.
Together with the BJP, the spending of these four pages was Rs 10.17 crore, or nearly two-thirds of the Rs 15.81 crore of the top 10 in this category.
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology has summoned Facebook representatives for a discussion on September 2 about allegations that the social media giant had chosen to ignore hate speech made by BJP leaders on its platform. The committee’s chairperson Shashi Tharoor had on August 17 announced that the panel will up take up the findings of a report by The Wall Street Journal, which exposed this alleged leniency.
Meanwhile, the Aam Aadmi Party has spent Rs 69 lakh, becoming the third-highest spending party on Facebook. The advertisements included in this category were not restricted to Facebook, but were also placed on the social media platform’s properties such as Instagram, Audience Network and Messenger.
Other advertisers in the top 10 include news aggregator Dailyhunt with a spending of just over Rs 1 crore and e-commerce firm Flipkart with a spending of more than Rs 86 lakh, The Indian Express reported. The list also includes a video-sharing app Public, which publishes news videos in regional languages. Public has spent Rs 1.24 core on advertisements in the 18-month period.