Pressure on Facebook over political advertising

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Pressure on Facebook over political advertising

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Pressure on Facebook over political advertising
With elections in the UK in December, and in the US in 2020, online political advertising is receiving intense scrutiny. Google has announced limits on targeting, while Twitter has banned politicians from buying ads
Facebook is the big player in online political ads, and it continues to allow targeted political ads, and to carve them out as exempt from fact-checking
Facebook wants to keep Republicans on side and surf the revenue opportunity, but pressure will increase with US elections, and we expect Facebook to bring in restrictions

Contents

Online political advertising: a growth story

Why the major social media platforms?

Current UK electoral regulation status quo

What are the harms?

The rationale: save money, keep Republicans happy

Facebook’s case: free speech and helping challengers

Revenue is low for now, but costs could be high

Political positioning

The future

List of charts/tables

Figure 1: US political ad spending, election years 2010-2020 ($bn)

Figure 2: Online as % of political advertising spend, UK

Figure 3: US recent recorded political/issues ad spend ($m)

Figure 4: UK spending limits for political parties and non-party entities

Figure 5: Fundraising by US congress candidates, by status ($m)