Indian Facebook political ads overwhelmingly viewed by men
In February 2019, an examination of Facebook's searchable database of Indian political ads showed that in India political ads on Facebook were viewed nine times more often by men than by women. Facebook's Indian user base was reported as 24% female in 2016. The reason for the disparity in ad viewing is unclear: deliberate gender-based targeting of Facebook users, the demographics of the population attracted by the pages on which the ads appear, or the levels of Facebook penetration in the geographical areas the ads are targeting. One consequence is that Indian political parties wishing to reach women may need to move away from Facebook and towards WhatsApp or YouTube, which were more useful at the time when mobile phones became accessible to working class Indian women, and, going forward, regional apps and TikTok.
Writer: Aria Thaker