Pro-BJP pages retain their position as the top spenders on Facebook political ads, with Congress in the fifth position, behind regional parties like Biju Janata Dal Odisha and Janata Dal (Secular).
As Facebook published its second report on weekly expenditure on political ads on its platform, BOOM rounded up the top 20 pages to gain insights into social media expenditure on political ads in the run up to the general elections.
Note: This report summarises the performance of the top 20 pages only, and does not take into account the rest of the pages in the Facebook Ad Library Report.
BJP still at the top, as Congress raises its game
Pro-BJP pages ‘Bharat Ke Mann Ki Baat‘ and ‘Nation with Namo‘ still remain as the top spenders with over Rs. 56 lakh and Rs. 25 lakh spent on political ads last week, respectively.
Pro-Congress pages have officially made an entry into the list of top 20, with the inclusion of the official Facebook pages of Indian Youth Congress and of Congress MPs Milind Deora and Konda Vishweshwar Reddy.
Summing up the expenditure of all the pro-BJP pages in the list, we arrive at a whopping amount of over Rs. 98 lakh, while pro-Congress pages trail behind at Rs. 1.80 lakh, despite increased expenditure since the previous week.
No holding back for the regional parties
Official Facebook pages of Biju Janata Dal Odisha and party supremo Naveen Patnaik also remain in the list of top spenders with over Rs. 8 lakh spent on political ads on Facebook last week.
Meanwhile, Facebook pages ‘Karnataka Towards Developments’ and its Kannada version ‘ಅಭಿವೃದ್ಧಿಯತ್ತ ಕರ್ನಾಟಕ ‘, have risen to the third position in the list with an expenditure of over Rs. 6 lakh.
As per the disclaimer provided by these pages, the ads were sponsored by an agency called Marketing Communication & Advertising Limited, and has been listed as a Government of Karnataka undertaking.
We therefore ascertain that these pages are pro-Janata Dal (Secular), Karnataka’s ruling party.
BOOM also observed that both the Facebook pages ‘Karnataka Towards Development’ and ‘ಅಭಿವೃದ್ಧಿಯತ್ತ ಕರ್ನಾಟಕ’ were not discoverable on Facebook at the time of writing this article.
BOOM has reached out to members of the JD(S) for a comment on this matter, and the article will be updated if and when they respond.
UP’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Maharashtra’s Shiv Sena also makes an entry to the list, with an expenditure of over Rs. 48,000 and Rs. 32,000, respectively.
Higher transparency on sponsor details
In the month of February, most of the political ads on Facebook ran without a disclaimer which requires sponsors to disclose their names, contacts and addresses, as reported by BOOM last week.
In contrast to the February report, it can be observed that most of last week’s political ads ran with the required disclaimer, disclosing the details of the sponsors.
Archis is a fact-checker and reporter at BOOM. He has previously worked as a journalist for broadsheet newspapers and in communications for a social start-up incubator. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science from Sciences Po Paris and a Master's in Media and Political Communication from the University of Amsterdam.