With only a day left for the first phase of Lok Sabha elections to begin, all eyes are on the Centre on who will win the race to govern the country.
No expense has been spared by the political parties in their campaigns to convince the voters that they are their best choice. Ads popped up on the televisions, posters on the side of the roads and in true 21st-century fashion, on social media.
To curb false agendas and immoral activities, Facebook tightened its leash on ads across its platform. It went to such an extent that last week, it brought down more than 600 ads of Congress citing "coordinated inauthentic behavior". Facebook had also said that it will be transparent on the amount spent on ads by the political parties. To provide the data, it launched the ad spend report which gave the exact amount of political parties as well as individuals spent on advertisements.
According to Facebook Ad Library, a little more than Rs 12 crore has been spent on political ads alone in a span of two months.
The party which has dominated Facebook ad spending has been the Bharatiya Janata Party with more than Rs 4 crore on its pages beginning with the Facebook page of Bharat Ke Mann Ki Baat. There were 1,230 ads without disclaimers and 2,498 ads with disclaimers.
Other pages like Nation with NaMo spent Rs 1.2 crore on ads and My First Vote for Modi spent roughly Rs 1 crore.
Huffpost reports that most of the ads on Bharat Ke Mann Ki Baat, Nation with NaMo and the My First Vote for Modi pages were from unofficial sources. However, these are sources are connected to BJP president Amit Shah, who oversees what goes on the pages.
The official BJP page spent Rs 37 lakh on ads.
Congress's expenditure on Facebook ads is modest compared to BJP. According to the Facebook Ad library, Congress spent just Rs 26 lakh on advertisements and a major part of it was spent in the week between March 31 and April 6, around the time, their manifesto was released.
The ad spending trends on Google have completely turned with Telugu Desam Party, led by Chandrababu Naidu, overtaking BJP to become the biggest spender. The data was released by Google political advertisement transparency report released on April 4.
The total political ad spending on the platform has amounted to Rs 3.76 crore by all political parties and its affiliates.
The TDP sent their ads through two companies, with Rs 85 lakh through Pramanya Strategy Consulting and Rs 63 lakh through Digitant Consulting for 89 ads. This amounts to a total of Rs 1.48 crore. However, Google reported that BJP was the biggest spender on political ad campaigns with a total of Rs 1.2 crore for 554 videos when TDP's contribution through the companies is not considered.
The YSR Congress Party comes third by spending Rs 1.04 crore on 104 advertisements and Congress is in the last place by spending a meagre Rs 54,000 for just 14 ads.