President Donald Trump may be trying to crack down on social media and its influence, but he was the biggest political advertiser on Facebook between March 2018 and May 2019, according to an analysis of publicly available data conducted last month by OpenSecrets. Facebook made that data publicly available in 2018 after the Russian political ad purchasing heightened scrutiny over its ad policies.
The President spent $12.5 million, according to the group, most of it to target middle aged men. That was of a total of $616 million spent on paid political advertising for "social causes, elections or politics," but OpenSecrets focused on the subset--$127.2 million--on political spend.
The majority of the top spenders on Facebook political advertising were doing so for liberal causes.
Trump's spending is also skewing older, with 7.5% of that $12.5 million total targeted at those under 25, less than any other major political advertiser.
Spending by Trump and others was "heavily focused" on primary and swing states.
Interestingly, Facebook itself was the second biggest political advertiser, allocating close to $11 million in space for its "Get Out the Vote" voter registration ads.
Rounding out the top five were Beto O'Rourke, ExxonMobile and gun rights group Concealed Online. Tom Steyer's impeachment campaign came in seventh.
Liberals outspent conservatives almost 2 to 1, at $66.5 million vs. $33.1 million.
Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.
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