Pritzker Facebook Ads Appear As News

SPRINGFIELD – Social media ads funded by Governor JB Pritzker could mislead some users, according to Reform For Illinois.

Illinois gubernatorial candidates must use traditional media, such as television and radio, to get their point across. But millions have already been spent on social media like Facebook, mostly by Pritzker.

Since 2018, a Facebook page for “JB Pritzker” has spent more than $ 3.6 million on ads, including $ 271,000 on Facebook ratings that were released without warning.

Reform For Illinois executive director Alisa Kaplan said there were additional expenses.

“Social media, in particular, can be a bit misleading in the way ads are presented,” Kaplan said. “Some of the Pritzker ads, for example, are presented as news. “

One such ad from a Facebook page titled “Illinois Daily” between Nov. 1 and Nov. 21 refers to a March 21 Chicago Tribune article with a quote saying that Pritzker was “widely praised by political observers, experts in public health and leaders of the two countries parties for its efforts to alleviate the COVID-19 crisis. “

Facebook data shows that up to $ 20,000 has been spent on advertising with the “Paid by JB for Governor” warning, making an impression on more than one million Facebook users.

There are dozens of similar ads.

Kakie Urch, a professor in the University of Kentucky’s School of Journalism and Media, said it was actually a small amount. But with some ads having been seen by over a million people each, it could still have an impact.

“It sounds like news, but it’s not news; it’s promotion, ”said Urch. “That’s not to say it’s fake news, which I think is a different category, but it’s definitely a place where you can see the confusion with many Facebook users. “

She said voters need to develop a media education that seeks authenticity and is aware of the different layers of “influencer pay or truth.”

The Pritzker campaign did not return multiple requests for comment.

Data from the Illinois State Council of Elections shows that in August, Pritzker’s campaign spent more than $ 2.3 million with Gambit Strategies. Facebook data shows that a page created in 2018 called “Illinois Daily” spent more than $ 1.9 million. Almost $ 87,000 was spent last week.

Republican gubernatorial candidates over the past week spent a fraction of that amount for a total of $ 2,700.

“The governor starts off with a huge advantage in this area,” Kaplan said.

The biggest Facebook spender for Republicans last week was Jesse Sullivan, spending $ 1,700, although Sullivan’s campaign has consistently spent $ 134,000 on Facebook ads.

Businessman Gary Rabine spent around $ 480 last week and nearly $ 53,000 all the time.

Former State Senator Paul Schimpf, R-Waterloo, spent about $ 350 last week and $ 10,500 in total on Facebook.

State Senator Darren Bailey, R-Xenia, spent $ 55,300 all the time and only $ 190 last week.

Kaplan says that while spending on social media should be a priority, the big bucks will still be spent on TV and radio ads.

“There is still a huge amount of money spent on more traditional types of media like radio and television,” Kaplan said. “JB Pritzker, the current governor, for example spent nearly $ 7 million on advertising, including on television. By the way, that’s over four times what all of his Republican opponents spent together.

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