27 Aug 2020: BJP leads in political advertisement spending on Facebook
From February 2019 till August 24 this year, the saffron party spent Rs. 4.61 crore on Facebook advertisements and Congress Rs. 1.84 crore.
The general elections, which reinstated BJP to power, also happened during the aforementioned time period.
Accounts: Three accounts linked to BJP spent more than AAP
Four accounts, linked to BJP, also figured in the top ten list of spenders. Three of them spent more than Rs. 69 lakh which Aam Aadmi Party spent.
The pages "My First Vote for Modi" and "Bharat Ke Mann Ki Baat" spent Rs. 1.39 crore and Rs 2.24 crore respectively; "Nation With Namo", that fancies itself as a news website, spent Rs. 1.28 crore.
Share: Collectively, BJP and associates spent Rs. 10.17 crore
Notably, the fourth page is associated with BJP leader and former parliamentarian RK Sinha. This page spent Rs. 65 lakh on advertisements in the aforementioned period.
In total, these accounts and BJP spent Rs. 10.17 crore on advertising, which accounts for 64% of the total amount spent by the top ten rank holders, i.e., Rs. 15.81 crore.
Fact: Flipkart, Dailyhunt also among top ten spenders
News platform Dailyhunt, e-commerce giant Flipkart, video-sharing app Public, that focuses on regional language news videos, made it to the top ten list by spending little over Rs. 1 crore, Rs. 86.43 lakh, and Rs. 1.24 crore respectively.
Details: BJP is a force to reckon with on social media
These figures only confirm what's already known about BJP — it has a massive digital presence and this would come handy during upcoming Bihar polls.
In fact, when the Election Commission sought suggestions from stakeholders on how to conduct large-scale polls amid coronavirus crisis, BJP proposed increasing the spending limit on social media, arguing that physical rallies and door-to-door campaigns will be less elaborate.
Approach: Fearing BJP's social media juggernaut, few parties approached EC
As per reports, BJP has already set up 10,000 social media cells to handle the virtual campaign in Bihar and plans to reach maximum voters through 17,000-odd WhatsApp groups.
BJP's preparations troubled opposition RJD and CPI(M) who wrote to EC, against virtual campaigning claiming it would disrupt the level-playing field.
Incidentally, NDA ally LJP also isn't a fan of the same.
Controversy: Not long ago, Facebook was accused of ignoring BJP's "hate-speech"
To note, details about BJP's spending have come close to heels of a stunning report in the Wall Street Journal, which claimed the social media platform didn't act against hate-speech by BJP leaders. Facebook reportedly feared its business in India would be adversely affected if it pulled up BJP's affiliates.
Unsurprisingly, the claims sparked a massive political row but BJP denied all accusations.
Aftermath: Parliamentary panel summoned Facebook to discuss raging matter
Subsequently, the Parliamentary panel on Information Technology, led by Congress' Shashi Tharoor, issued summons to Facebook to discuss the matter.
The social media giant as well as the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology's representatives were directed to appear on September 2.
Meanwhile, BJP leaders, who are part of the panel, sought Tharoor's removal alleging bias. Later, they revised their position, reports ET.