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Data: Bully Pulpit Interactive; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

New data shows that since President Biden has taken office, topics such as “foreign policy," “climate” and “voting rights” have become a much bigger percentage of political and issue ad spending on Facebook, compared to the Trump era.

The big picture: Political ad spending can be a good proxy metric for the types of issues gaining traction amongst policymakers and interest groups.

  • Because Facebook's ad data is easy to track in real-time, it offers researchers a glimpse into trends impacting politics that was much harder to capture even just five years ago.

Details: Big Tech has become one of the biggest topics of discussion in recent weeks, accounting for 6-7% of all political and advocacy ads on Facebook. Ads from Facebook itself has driven some of that increase.

  • "Fake news" has virtually disappeared from Facebook ads compared to last year, when it was at one point ahead of the 2020 race the biggest topic of Trump campaign ad spending on Facebook.
  • "Antifa" and "far-left" have similarly retreated from the high levels of mentions they reached during last summer's Black Lives Matter protests.
  • Health care continues to be a major topic of discussion, but has become a smaller focus area as the pandemic has regressed.

Be smart: Mentions of Biden make up a meaningful share of ads this year, but just not to the extent former President Trump commanded for most of his presidency.

  • In some weeks, almost 40% of all Facebook political spending last year mentioned Trump, according to researchers from Bully Pulpit Interactive, a progressive advertising firm in Washington.

Go deeper

Jun 7, 2021 - Technology
Column / Tech Agenda

Scoop: Conservatives sound alarm against taking Big Tech money

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Conservatives in Washington are growing much more leery of groups with financial ties to Big Tech.

Driving the news: The American Principles Project, a conservative advocacy group, will send a letter today warning Republican lawmakers and staffers to be aware of third-party lobbyists who receive funding from Big Tech in an attempt to "influence public policy on the Right" and "coopt the Republican party."

Facebook says it stepped in where officials failed in creating oversight board

Nick Clegg, Facebook's vice president of global affairs, told ABC's "This Week" that the company's oversight board is a solution where elected officials have abdicated.

Driving the news: Clegg defended the platform's two-year suspension of former President Donald Trump, after recent criticism from Trump about the company's right to censor or silence free speech.

Teachers across the U.S. protest laws restricting racism lessons

Thousands of teachers and other educators held protests across the U.S. Saturday against the actions of "at least 15 Republican-led states" that aim to restrict teaching about racism in class, the Washington Post reports.

Driving the news: There were demonstrations in at least 22 cities for the "Day of Action" to raise awareness about moves to limit students' exposure to critical race theory, which links racial discrimination to the nation's foundations and legal system, per Axios' Russell Contreras.