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Attacks against Biden in network ads exceed those against Trump, says analysis

A survey revealed that attacks against the President of the United States, Joe Biden, in advertisements on social media exceed attacks against Donald Trump. Both will compete for the US presidency in the November 5 elections.

The analysis was carried out by the Institute for Democracy, Journalism and Citizenship (IDJC) at Syracuse University, in the state of New York, and took into account paid advertisements on Facebook and Instagram between September 1, 2023 and February 29, 2024.

The researchers found that more than 24 thousand advertisements were purchased by 1,802 groups, totaling an estimated value of US$15.3 million (R$78.8 million).

They generated 869 million impressions on these two social networks, that is, the number of times any content on or about the page appeared on a person's screen.

And while Biden is mentioned seven times more often than Trump in general ads on Facebook and Instagram, he was mentioned in the most targeted attack ads (47%) compared to attack ads that mention Trump (37%).

Another point identified by the university is that pro-Trump advertisements refer to him as “president”, a position that, in fact, belongs to Biden.

The two candidates have exchanged accusations, in a polarized election in which every vote counts. According to a survey by CNN, Trump maintains a small lead over Biden among registered voters.

Conservative groups are the ones that spend the most

According to the IDJC survey, conservative groups were the ones that spent the most on advertisements during this period.

The Liberty Defender Group was named first in this regard, spending more than US$1.3 million. He is not linked to any political organization, but his ads indicate a pro-Trump alignment, according to the institute.

Next comes AFP Action, or Americans for Prosperity, with more than $1 million spent. This is a conservative organization that endorsed Nikki Haley, the candidate who competed with Donald Trump for the Republican party's nomination to contest the elections.

Ad campaign spending fell

The IDJC analysis highlighted that presidential campaigns spent approximately $10 million on Facebook and Instagram ads, generating approximately 303 million impressions.

According to the document, Biden was spending seven times more than Trump on these platforms.

However, candidates' advertising spending on these networks has so far fallen significantly from the 2020 campaign during the same six-month period.

From September 1, 2019, to February 28, 2020, the university's analysis found that spending by all U.S. presidential primary candidates was estimated at $141,246,401.

In comparison, in the same period in 2024, spending is estimated at US$9,978,182.

About the analysis

Syracuse University researchers focused on Instagram and Facebook because of their “broad reach of more than half of the US voting population.”

To reach the conclusion, they used a graph database platform from the company Neo4j.

These “knowledge graphs” connect information from multiple data sources, allowing the identification and analysis of hidden patterns and the discovery of “complex webs of connections”.

IDJC members used this technology to reveal “unusual, significant and influential actors, networks and patterns of behavior”.

Source: CNN Brasil

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