Is it a fandom on Facebook or an ad for a political party?

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The posts on the page clearly display a pro-BJP bias and the page is currently posting content related to the upcoming elections in Uttar Pradesh (UP). After spending Rs 4,909,934 on Facebook ads since its inception, the page has spent Rs 531,663 in the last seven days (between January 14 and January 20). While in the past ads have been taken down for violating Facebook’s advertising policy, the exact nature of the violation cannot be clarified.

A Meta official said Newslaundry on condition of anonymity, “Where appropriate, we may restrict thematic, election or political ads. We do not allow ads that violate our advertising policies and also disable ads that are reported to us by the Electoral Commission of the India and which we believe violate local election laws.

Like “Modi 11”, the page “Phir Ek Baar Modi Sarkar – Uttar Pradesh” (Another Modi Government – Uttar Pradesh) displays political advertisements. The information section of the page reveals that it has not yet completed its verification with Facebook.

Without proper verification ads, which are categorized as “social” or “political,” they technically cannot be posted on a page. However, the verification process may be considered incomplete if certain features (like two-factor authentication) have not been enabled by a Page’s admin.

As of January 20, 2022, “Phir Ek Baar Modi Sarkar – Uttar Pradesh” was running ads classified as social and political, having spent Rs 75,351 in the last seven days (between January 14 and January 20). Since the page’s inception in 2019, it has spent a total of Rs 2,430,325 on Facebook ads.

The importance of online advertising through social media is evident in how pages like “Modi 11” “Phir Ek Baar Modi Sarkar – Uttar Pradesh” have doubled their recent advertising spend. Will this page, its application and its application (available on the Android App Store) remain active after the end of the UP election? Guess what.

An unofficial campaign

India’s former Chief Electoral Commissioner, Dr SY Quraishi, said Newslaundry, “Political ads on social media should be treated the same as ads on traditional media platforms as such. They should be added to an individual candidate’s overall budget spend.

However, some of the pages mentioned in this article are not part of any official campaign. They indirectly support the political parties they have chosen and therefore their expenses are not added to the overall expenses of a candidate or political party.

Quraishi also pointed out that under ECI rules, “third parties promoting a political candidate or party cannot spend more than Rs 10 on a campaign.” Again, because these pages may not be officially operated or managed by anyone associated with a political party or candidate, their expenses do not fall under the official campaign budget.

The pages discussed in the article are among the top 100 ad spenders in the country, according to Facebook’s Ad Library report. There may be countless others who stay under the radar because their expenses are lower.

With five states – UP, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Goa and Manipur – set to go to the polls, it is worth examining how the ideologies of political parties, like the BJP, are promoted through pages that camouflage their political content .

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