Last week we jokingly wrote about a Facebook press release that was apparently an honest effort by the social media giant intended to summarize Russian efforts to undermine the 2016 election using their social media platform. That said, at least to us, it seemed as though Facebook unwittingly proved what a farce the entire 'Russian collusion' narrative had become as, after digging through advertising data for the better part of full year, Facebook reported that they found a 'staggering' $50,000 worth of ad buys that 'MAY' have been purchased by Russian-linked accounts to run 'potentially politically related' ads.
Not surprisingly, after being attacked by the mainstream media and even Hillary for "assisting" the Russians, Zuckerberg is once again in the press today fanning the flames of the 'Russian collusion' narrative by saying that Facebook will release to Congress the details of the 3,000 ads that 'MAY' have been purchased by Russian-linked accounts.
And while it seems obvious, please allow us to once again demonstrate why this entire process is so utterly bizarre...
The chart below demonstrates how the $50,000 worth of ad buys that 'MAY' have been purchased by Russian-linked accounts to run 'potentially politically related' ads compares to the $26.8 billion in ad revenue that Facebook generated in the U.S. over the same time period between 3Q 2015 and 2Q 2017....If $50,000 can swing an entire presidential election can you imagine what $26.8 billion can do?
Of course, not all of that $26.8 billion was spent on political advertising so we took a shot at breaking it down further. While Facebook doesn't disclose political spending as a percent of their overall advertising revenue, we did a little digging and found that political advertising represented ~5% of the overall ad market in the U.S. in 2016. We further assumed that political share of the overall ad market is roughly half of that amount in non-election years, or 2.5%.
Using that data, we figure that Facebook may get ~3.5% of their annual revenue from political advertising in an average year, or nearly $1 billion per year...give or take a few million. Unfortunately, as the chart below once again demonstrates, this still does little to support Zuckerberg's thesis that the $50,000 he keeps talking about is in any way relevant to the 2016 election.
Of course, the pursuit of this ridiculous narrative proves that Zuckerberg has no interest in spreading the truth about how his company impacted (and by "impacted," we mean "had no impact at all") the 2016 election, but rather is only interested in shoving his political agenda down the throats of an American public that he presumes is too stupid to question his propaganda.
That said, if Zuckerberg is really just on a mission for truth, as he says he is, perhaps he can stop patronizing the American public and disclose the full facts surrounding political advertising on Facebook. We suspect a simple financial disclosure detailing how much political advertising was sold on Facebook from 3Q 2015 - 2Q 2017, broken down by political affiliation, would go a long way toward proving just how meaningless $50,000 is in the grand scheme of things.
That said, somehow we suspect 'truth' is not really Zuckerberg's end goal, now is it?