Facebook Ads: Politics of Migration in Italy

10/09/2020 ∙ by Arthur Capozzi, et al. ∙ 0

Targeted online advertising is on the forefront of political communication, allowing hyper-local advertising campaigns around elections and issues. In this study, we employ a new resource for political ad monitoring – Facebook Ads Library – to examine advertising concerning the issue of immigration in Italy. A crucial topic in Italian politics, it has recently been a focus of several populist movements, some of which have adopted social media as a powerful tool for voter engagement. Indeed, we find evidence of targeting by the parties both in terms of geography and demographics (age and gender). For instance, Five Star Movement reaches a younger audience when advertising about immigration, while other parties' ads have a more male audience when advertising on this issue. We also notice a marked rise in advertising volume around elections, as well as a shift to more general audience. Thus, we illustrate political advertising targeting that likely has an impact on public opinion on a topic involving potentially vulnerable populations, and urge the research community to include online advertising in the monitoring of public discourse.



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