Most of the parties be it BJP or Congress, now understand the power of social media and they have started pumping up their ad spends on Facebook. Even though the initial figures coming in now are very small compared to what will be the ultimate spend, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is leading in the political ad spend on Facebook.
The page ‘Bharatiya Janata Party’ had an ad spend of Rs 6.6 lakh, while Shah’s page had a spending of Rs 2.12 lakh. Compared to this, the Congress and its supporters spend much lesser amounts with the highest being about Rs 48,000. Pages like ‘Im with Congress’, ‘Congress Party admirers forum’ and ‘Vote for Congress’ had spends of Rs 684, Rs 535 and Rs 490, respectively, during the February to March 2 period.
The advertisements run for the ruling dispensation range from promotion of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government policies to those of its leaders, including BJP President Amit Shah — all of which were not necessarily paid by the party but by its supporters.
Facebook has been facing a lot of criticisms around the globe for misuse of its platform for spread of fake news and influencing the public opinion ahead of elections.
It had ruled that an advertiser who wants to run an ad in India related to politics will need to first confirm their identity and location along with details about who placed the ad. It also launched its online searchable Ad Library for anyone to access. This library provides information about the person or group placing the ads.
The Indian government had warned social media platforms of strong action if any attempt was made to influence the country’s electoral process through undesirable means.
“These social media advertising spends are just a curtain-raiser. The fact is that there is a marketing juggernaut in the DNA of BJP. They believe in brand building and social media,” said brand consultant Harish Bijoor.