US midterms show that politicians criticize Facebook but use it to campaign


Facebook's latest tool for inspecting political ads showed that in the run-up to the US mid-term elections in November 2018, many of the same politicians who had been questioning Facebook about privacy and leaked user data were spending campaign funds on advertisements on the service. Between 2014 and 2018, the digital percentage of political spending rose from 1% to 22% (or about $1.9 billion); between May and November 2018 political spending on Facebook and its subsidiaries came to nearly $300 million with Democrats outspending Republicans on Facebook three to one. Both sides take advantage of the detailed targeting Facebook offers as well as the ability to test and iterate messages that can then be repurposed in other media and leverage social network data to target donors outside their catchment areas.

Writer: Christopher Mims
Publication: Wall Street Journal
tags: advertising, Facebook, US elections, political advertising, transparency

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