Tories boost Facebook spending as Cummings takes control of comms

The Conservative Party has significantly ramped up Facebook spend as Dominic Cummings takes charge of its communications strategy.

Data from the social media giant shows the Tories spent
£86,020 on targeted advertising on Facebook in the 30 days to August 17- more
than they spent over the previous 60 days (£54,603).

The 30-day total is more than three times the amount spent by the Labour Party (£23,135) during the same period.

Focusing on specific issues likely to push people’s buttons

Vote Leave’s campaign director, Dominic Cummings – now Mr Johnson’s top adviser – came under significant scrutiny for the use of targeted Facebook advertising during the referendum campaign.

Several members of Boris Johnson’s advisory team previously
worked on the official Vote Leave campaign, which relied on Facebook targeting
to reach voters.

Their ads – since released to a committee of MPs investigating the campaign – focused on specific issues such as immigration or animal rights thought likely to push the buttons of certain groups of people, based on their age, where they lived and other personal data taken from social media and other sources.

Political opponents

Many of the current Conservative-funded Facebook adverts targeted political opponents, including one in the past week specifically aimed at constituents of former Tory MP Sarah Wollaston.

One of several similar versions of the advert aimed at
residents of Totnes, Devon, read: “Should your MP, Sarah Wollaston, be ignoring
YOUR vote to leave the EU? Tell her YES or NO now.”

Ms Wollaston, an outspoken opponent of Brexit, left the Conservatives in February to form Change UK, before switching to the Liberal Democrats.

Other adverts took aim at Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn,
Scotland First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson, with one
reading: “Jeremy Corbyn, Jo Swinson and Nicola Sturgeon want to pick and choose
which votes they respect – ignoring 17.4 million Leave votes.

“Add your name now to show them they can’t get away with

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