End the duopoly

Political groups and candidates like Facebook ads

You might call it the Facebook Election.

Many voters are “cutting the cord” from cable TV, and candidates and political organizations are turning to Facebook to attract Virginia voters in Tuesday’s legislative and local elections.

Between July 1 and Oct. 25, Facebook users in Virginia were bombarded with about $6 million in political advertising, according to the social media company.

Everytown for Gun Safety, an organization that seeks to restrict access to firearms and curb gun violence, has spent the most — about $215,000 — on Facebook ads. The group, largely financed by New York billionaire Michael Bloomberg, announced Friday that it has spent $2.5 million in the Virginia election, including $770,000 in digital advertising.

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People’s Power Grab, which advocates for voter registration and mobilization, bought about $208,000 in advertising on Facebook. The Dogwood, a Virginia digital media outlet, was third at more than $170,000.

It is no surprise why advocacy groups and politicians are turning to Facebook. It’s the most popular social media platform and can deliver ads targeted to users based on gender, age and other demographics — at a cost much less than television.

Washington State University professor Travis Ridout says Facebook’s ability to reach a majority of Americans makes it attractive to political campaigns.

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