World News – UA – Big Tech Generates Record Revenues and Huge Criticism With Election Ads


President Donald Trump and Joe Biden’s campaigns spent a combined $ 1923 million on Facebook ads in the first 10 months of 2020, more than a quarter of which were in October alone, according to data from Facebook Inc

Each party’s presidential campaigns more than doubled their social media ad spend compared to presidential candidates in the 2016 race, when pundits agreed Trump beat Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton online

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Biden spent a little more on Facebook than Trump this year, at $ 99 8 million compared to $ 92 5 million, although the president invested more in Alphabet Inc Google, where the two campaigns spent $ 215 combined 5 million ads on Google Since May 2018 Much of that spending has come on YouTube, including a wave of Trump ads on the video site’s homepage this week

But even as candidates invest tens of millions of dollars in platform advertising, there is widespread discontent both about the rules companies have set around elections and how they enforced them A typical example is a policy announced by Facebook in September to ban new political ads the week before the election

The ban did not actually prevent campaigns from running ads during this time, only from introducing new ads that may introduce deceptive messages in the final days of the campaign. The logic of this decision was lost for Gautam Hans, professor at Vanderbilt Law School, focused on the First Amendment « If we are concerned about political ads and their effect on the vote, the vote is well underway », he said. he said, noting the wave of early votes that started before the moratorium went into effect

There have also been execution issues Facebook has blocked thousands of ads, citing “a number of unforeseen issues affecting the campaigns of both political parties.” The Biden campaign was affected even though it released the announcements before deadline The campaign said the disruption, which Facebook blamed on a technical glitch, likely cost them more than $ 500,000 in donations The company said it had not been able to resolve issues with some of the ads and was unlikely to be able to do so during the blackout period. Rob Flaherty, chief digital officer of Biden, said the incident made it clear that Facebook was completely unprepared to handle this election despite four years to prepare »

The Trump campaign was also affected by the glitch The campaign had previously attempted to circumvent the policy by running a limited series of new ads the day before the ban went into effect These ads included language such as « Vote Today! » and « Election day is today », presumably with the intention of promoting them more strongly when these statements really make sense

Facebook has blocked the ads, citing a policy banning paid posts that mislead people about the electoral process But it allowed other ads claiming record economic growth in the US days before the statistics were released Samantha Zager, spokeswoman for Trump’s campaign, accused Facebook of making rules and applying them selectively because the company « was working against President Trump »

Daniel Kreiss, associate professor at the University of North Carolina who tracks political communication, said the platforms had failed to create predictable safeguards for political actors « We are still seeing far too many patchy enforcement policies and far too many changes in those policies months or weeks after a presidential election, » he said, adding that Facebook’s performance had been particularly poor. « It never ceases to amaze me that a company with so many billions in market capitalization cannot understand this »

Facebook, Google and Twitter Inc all found themselves at the center of a political storm for their handling of the 2016 election The following year, federal lawmakers made a high-profile effort to create new rules for the political advertising online, but this failed, leaving the platforms to develop safeguards themselves All three companies created databases where people could track political spending and started developing other policies

Last October, Twitter announced that it would completely ban Facebook and Google political ads, also considered bans, at least for the last few days or weeks before an election Sridhar Ramaswamy, a Google executive who led his advertising operations until 2018, said he had advocated internally for the total abandonment of political ads Google also considered a pre-election moratorium on political ads on the YouTube homepage, some of the most expensive real estate on the internet Instead, it sold the space to the Trump campaign, Bloomberg reported in February

Former YouTube lawyer Shirin Raza says Trump’s ads have been particularly damaging to the democratic process and said the company itself wears part of it “They say they care about electoral integrity They say they care about Covid disinformation But they keep raising someone who violates these two principles,” she said “It doesn’t does he not make you an accomplice?  »

A Google spokesperson said she welcomes ads from all political advertisers, as long as they follow company rules It limited targeting on election ads, preventing campaigns from mixing public voter records with information such as searches, web browsing, and YouTube viewing histories. Facebook didn’t limit targeting and also infuriated Democrats with its policy of refusing to verify political ads (Republicans subsequently attacked the company whenever it tagged deceptive messages from President Trump ) Both companies have said they will stop allowing political ads in the days following the election, in a bid to stem attempts to confuse people about the outcome of the vote

Anyone who is skeptical of the way social media companies handle political ads have not supported targeting restrictions or outright bans People who run downvoting campaigns have expressed concern by the fact that targeting restrictions do not prevent them from buying ads tailored to their constituents Some campaigns felt that targeting restrictions were preventing them from accessing the type of granular messaging on Facebook and Google that worked so well in 2016 « It changed the purchase to look more like television, » said Reid Vineis, vice president of Majority Strategies, a political advertising company

Some people who study political discourse also say that a political advertising ban would undermine the electoral process “I think political advertising is important,” UNC’s Kreiss said “Most ads are mobilizing How else do you get people to vote? « 

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Donald Trump, Joe Biden, US Presidential Election, 2020, Facebook, Campaign Ad

Global News – AU – Big Tech Raises Record Revenues, Harsh Criticism with election advertisements


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