Data: Bully Pulpit Interactive, Chart: Dani Alberti/Axios

Donald Trump has spent far more Facebook ad dollars targeting topics like "fake news" and "immigration" during the pandemic than any policy area, according to new data provided to Axios from political ad firm Bully Pulpit Interactive. Joe Biden has spent an overwhelming majority of his Facebook ads talking about the president and health care.

Why it matters: The president's re-election messaging hasn't shifted all that much during the pandemic, except that the president is focusing slightly more now on targeting the press than on immigration.

Data: Bully Pulpit Interactive, Chart: Dani Alberti/Axios
  • Biden's campaign has focused more messaging on the president's response to the coronavirus crisis.

Be smart: Facebook is still a good indicator of how messaging strategies have evolved for both campaigns.

  • The campaigns are mostly still focusing on direct response advertising right now, or ads that try to get you to donate or sign up to volunteer for something via a click, and many of those ads are purchased on Facebook.
  • So far, two-thirds of all political ad dollars this cycle (including other political and advocacy campaigns) have been spent on "direct response" ads online.

Between the lines: These charts do not show the total Facebook spending made by both candidates during the pandemic. It leaves out big portions of spending around generic fundraising topics like surveys and birthdays — i.e. sign a birthday card for this candidate or take this survey on behalf of the campaign.

Go deeper: Trumpworld's plan to brand Biden

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Aug 31, 2020 - Technology

Facebook to assess its impact on 2020 election

Photo illustration: Manish Rajput/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Facebook will enlist academics to study whether and how its platforms end up influencing the 2020 U.S. presidential election, the company announced Monday.

Between the lines: Facebook is trying to show it's being mindful of its potential to amplify election-related misinformation. In 2016, CEO Mark Zuckerberg famously said it was a "pretty crazy idea" that Facebook had any influence over that election, which was quickly proven wrong.

Frenemies Facebook and Apple square off

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Facebook and Apple are fighting an increasingly high stakes battle over user privacy and access to the iOS App Store, deepening a rift between two of the most powerful companies in Silicon Valley.

Why it matters: The two companies, along with Google and Amazon, are being challenged over a range of issues, from abuse of power to violations of privacy to allowing hate and misinformation to flourish. By trading accusations, Facebook and Apple could just be handing more ammo to critics and regulators — but at the same time, conflict between these giants could be read as a sign of competitive life and a rebuttal to antitrust charges.

Twitter labels Trump campaign tweet for misleading clip of Biden speech

Photo: Kyle Mazza/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Twitter on Monday labeled a tweet from the Trump campaign's "War Room" account "manipulated media" for posting a misleading clip of Joe Biden saying, "You won't be safe in Joe Biden's America!"

Reality check: More context would have shown that Biden was quoting President Trump and Vice President Pence as saying, "You won't be safe in Joe Biden's America," during a speech in which the Democratic nominee was condemning violent protests and Trump's response to social unrest.