Falkirk MP spends almost £400 on targeted Facebook ads

Falkirk East MP Martyn Day has spent almost £400 on Facebook adverts in the past 11 months, we can reveal.

By Fiona Dobie & Aimee Stanton
Tuesday, 1st October 2019, 4:00 pm
Linlithgow and East Falkirk MP Martyn Day
Linlithgow and East Falkirk MP Martyn Day

The SNP politician is the only Falkirk district MP, MSP or councillor, to spend money promoting posts on the social media site, according to the Facebook Ad Library.

And his £397 spend has been on just 17 ads between October last year and September 28.

Across the country Facebook users are being targeted with thousands of adverts seeking to influence their opinion of local politics.

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Hundreds of individual MPs, elected officials and local authorities have placed nearly half a million pounds’ worth of promotions on the site in less than a year.

In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the social media giant last year began publishing details of who places - and pays for - adverts promoting political or social issues.

Spending on these ads, often targeted to specific groups, has totalled more than £6.4m since last October.

And while much of the attention has focused on the big parties and pressure groups on either side of the Brexit divide, the data also reveals the thousands of adverts placed at a local level, often seeking to influence constituents on what can appear to be seemingly mundane neighbourhood issues.

Mr Day’s paid for adverts promoted his Facebook page, as well as some addressing issues surrounding Brexit.

The last of his adverts was posted back in April.

He said: “I have previously boosted posts which I have deemed to be politically important on my Facebook page, something which I know many of my counterparts have also done.

“I found this to be a useful way of increasing my reach outwith the usual social media bubble however, it’s no longer as effective as it used to be in light of the sheer volume of UK Government ads.

“All my sponsored posts carry a disclaimer stating that I paid for the ad personally; this information can be clearly viewed on my page.”

With 40 million users in the UK alone, Facebook is seen by many politicians and groups as an effective way of reaching constituents.

Since last October, at least £209,000 has been spent on ads for individual MPs - including campaigns for the Conservative Party’s leadership contest.