Jun 28, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Abortion rights ads swamp social media

Ad spending by groups that <b style='color: #00ab58'>support</b> and <b style='color: #ff7900'>oppose</b> abortion rights
Data: NYU Cybersecurity for Democracy project. Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

Pro-abortion rights interests have heavily outspent their opposition on leading social media platforms in the wake of a Supreme Court ruling overturning its landmark Roe v. Wade decision, data shared with Axios show.

Why it matters: The court's ruling throws the issue to the states, where heated legislative fights are imminent over the future of abortion access in America.

  • Both sides are seeking to use the decision to galvanize supporters ahead of multi-state efforts to expand or circumscribe abortion rights.
  • A major component of those efforts are digital ad campaigns aimed at mobilizing voters and securing financial contributions.

By the numbers: Facebook Ad Library data analyzed by the NYU Cybersecurity for Democracy project show the side favoring abortion rights has outspent its opposition on paid Facebook and Instagram ads every day since a draft Supreme Court decision leaked in early May.

  • Spending spiked after the leak and when the actual decision came down on Friday.
  • Women's health provider Planned Parenthood is by far the top political ad spender on Facebook and Instagram over the past week, according to Meta advertising data.

Between the lines: Pro-abortion rights content also saw substantial organic social media engagement, according to data compiled by the digital ad tracking newsletter FWIW.

  • An Instagram post from Michelle Obama racked up the most engagement of any post on the issue.

Yes, but: Social media isn't the only way to reach voters, and both sides of the issue are spending big on radio and TV as well.

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