To amplify their messages and influence voters, many candidates put out political ads. Candidates spend the most on political ads run on broadcast television. However, in line with a worldwide increase in internet usage, online & digital advertising is also a major expenditure. The Trump Make America Great Again Committee spent the most money of all online ad spenders through 2018-2019, and Donald Trump holds a sizeable lead among the 2020 presidential candidates' political advertising on Google and Facebook.
A social media giant, Facebook is the biggest social network worldwide and a medium where candidates hope to spread their message to a broad audience. Elizabeth Warren, for example, was the candidate who spent the most on the subjects of college education affordability as well as the opioid crisis in 2019, while Bernie Sanders held the lead for Facebook advertising on healthcare. Trump appears to make immigration a focus of his campaign once more and spent 852 thousand U.S. dollars on Facebook advertisements on the topic in the first quarter of 2019 alone, which was an amount more substantial than any other candidate's spending.
In recent years, social media presence has become a substantial part of a candidate's campaign strategy. Bernie Sanders is the Democratic candidate with the most Twitter followers, with over ten million followers. In contrast, Joe Biden, the next most-followed candidate, has just over four million followers. Perhaps most famously, Donald Trump's use of Twitter has been quite controversial, including personal and political admonishments to individuals, as well as using the channel for official announcements. By the midpoint of his term as President, over 60 percent of surveyed adults in the United States thought the way President Trump uses Twitter was inappropriate.
In 2016, the influence of social media on the political process was unexpected by many. The Mueller Investigation concluded that Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election was "sweeping and systematic" and "violated U.S. criminal law." The largest portion of U.S. adults thought that it would be a good thing for social media companies to introduce stricter rules for displaying political ads. Some social media platforms including TikTok and Twitter banned political ads, while Facebook continues to allow political ads.