Jul 18, 2018 - Technology

By the numbers: Trump tops list of political ad spenders on Facebook

A Facebook logo is seen on an iPhone is seen in this photo illustration on July 9, 2018. (Photo by Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Facebook logo: Photo: Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images

President Trump leads the field in political advertisements on Facebook, reports the New York Times citing new analysis of political ad purchases.

Why it matters: The new study provided the most comprehensive outlook on who the biggest Facebook political ad buyers are and the amounts they’re spending. This comes after the social media giant in May updated its advertising policies that now require ad buyers to verify their identities as citizens or permanent U.S. residents as part of its effort to curb foreign interference in domestic politics.

By the numbers

Researchers at New York University, who reviewed Facebook's data, found of the top 449 spenders since May, 210 were liberal, 124 conservative-leaning and 115 politically neutral, per the Times.

  • Trump's political action committee dropped $274,000 on Facebook ads since early May, and have been viewed by at least 37 million people.
  • Planned Parenthood Federation of America came in second spending more than $188,000 over the same period. 24 million people reportedly saw them.
  • Of the top 20 political candidates and PACs buying ads, 12 were identified as Democrats and eight identified as Republicans.

Yes, but: The researchers also found 43,575 cases of ads that didn't identify a sponsor — meaning the person who purchased the advertisement did not follow the new verification process.

What they're saying: Facebook's director of product management, Rob Leathern, lauded the study, telling the Times: "This report is the exactly how we hoped the tool would be used — outside experts helping to analyze these ads on Facebook. It brings more transparency to the messages people see and increases accountability and responsibility over time, not just for us but advertisers as well."

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