Between June 15 and July 14, a Facebook page spent ₹22.42 lakh on advertisements, making it India’s top Facebook advertiser in that period. The target audience for all of its ads are people who live in Madhya Pradesh, a state that is going for assembly elections in a few months.

This page in question is named Corruption Nath. It doesn’t campaign for a party or a politician, but all its posts are defamatory in nature and target Congress leader and former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath. The Meta ad library data reveals that the page has spent a total of ₹22.8 lakh to run 762 advertisements. It is also the 158th highest all-time Meta advertisement spender in India.

Recently, there were reports of posters accusing Nath of corruption appearingin various places in Madhya Pradesh. While the Congress accused the BJP of this, the BJP denied having anything to do with the posters.

The rise of slander pages

Analysis of the Meta ad library data reveals that slander pages have always been among the top advertisers on Facebook. For instance, a page titled Ek dhoko Kejriwalne is the ninth highest all-time Facebook advertisement spender in India. This page was previously titled Paltu Express and constantly put up posts defamatory in nature, against Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. It has spent ₹3.19 crore on Facebook ads since the time of its inception.

Another slander page that has spent quite a lot is titled Khotikarok Modi and until the end of 2022, it constantly posted adverts targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. It is the twentieth-highest Meta ad spender and has spent around ₹1.49 crore on ads.

The other slander page among India’s top 100 spenders include Chuntli Express, which defamed Arvind Kejriwal, Bua Babua, which runs campaigns against Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi and Samajwadi Party MLA Akhilesh Yadav, and TN Deserves Better, which regularly targeted AIADMK and BJP leaders.

The other big spenders

Political parties have spent big on their campaigns on Facebook in the last thirty days. Amid the West Bengal panchayat elections, Trinamool Congress spent ₹9.52 lakh on Facebook ads.

While a page titled Jagane Kavali, which supports the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy spent ₹6.67 lakh, BJP Rajasthan spent ₹6.05 lakh. BJP Madhya Pradesh has spent around ₹5 lakh to run a campaign titled MP Ke Mann Mein Modi.