In May, Facebook began requiring political ads to disclose who paid for them and started collecting all political ads in a searchable archive. Now, researchers are using that information to see how politicians are incorporating the social platform into their campaigns. As the New York Times reports, researchers at New York University have conducted an initial analysis of political Facebook ads and found that President Trump is a leading spender.
Of the 267,000 political ads that the research team was able to collect accurate information on from Facebook’s archive, Donald Trump’s campaign and his PAC were both top 10 ad sponsors based on how many impressions their ads attracted on the social media platform. Combined, the two spent at least $274,100 on 9,523 ads between May and June of this year, which attracted a minimum of 37.6 million impressions. Comparatively, Planned Parenthood, which had the second most impressions, spent at least $188,800 on 3,389 ads viewed by 24.5 million people. The only other politician in the top 10 list is, Beto O’Rourke, a Democratic Senate candidate from Texas who spent a minimum of $194,400 on Facebook ads.
The ads bought by Mr. Trump and his PAC were also seen the most by Facebook’s users, having been viewed by at least 37 million people since May. That compared with 24 million people who saw the second-most viewed group of political ads, which were also from Planned Parenthood.