Mess of Political Ads on Facebook

21.03.2017, Critique

Main interests: blogs, social networks, new media, information security.

We’ve already mentioned that political parties and blocs have been actively using social media during the election campaign. Mainly used as a platform is Facebook and adjacent to that, Instagram. Adopting a more aggressive advertising strategy is the Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), whose PR specialists also use advertising platforms (e.g., Google AdSense), placing ads on websites. They’re even sending spam messages with HHK ads on Viber.

Apart from direct advertising, several political groups are using additional resources. NGOs are also getting involved. For example, HHK candidate Mihran Poghosyan is being actively promoted by the unknown charitable NGO Catherine [below].

Furthermore, numerous Facebook pages that have thousands of followers but till today had nothing to do with politics or a specific political party have fallen under the influence of political PR. As a result of which, appearing as Facebook ads are pages that suddenly advertise specific parties. 

In Facebook ads, one can even find foreign influence. For instance, the Russian embassy shared promotional material that in the election campaign period can be viewed as political advertising.

The media outlets advertise material of their political nature, which could be viewed as advertising for a political group. Though this decision may also have other explanations.

I believe media outlets and NGOs have no right to be called impartial and disseminate such blatant ads. By placing a specific group’s ad, the news service becomes drawn into political campaigning. If, of course, that’s not done deliberately.

Samvel Martirosyan

The views expressed in the column are those of the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Media.am.

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