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BJP, as well as other parties and Koo, are the leading political advertisers on Facebook.

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Ad spending from political parties shouldn’t be surprising, considering that five Indian states are preparing for elections. What caught our attention was the money spent on behalf of Koo’s Indian social media platform.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and rivals such as the Congress remain at the top of the race to win the political ad on Facebook, with only two weeks left for the elections in five states. It’s not surprising, but what stands out in all of this was the money spent by the Indian microblogging website Koo.

Koo spent around Rs 18.4 lakh over the past month on ads that Facebook labels as ads about political issues, elections, or politics. In the past 30 days, it has spent around Rs 64 000 on Facebook. From March 2022 to January 20, 2022, Koo has spent nearly six crores on political advertisements on Facebook.

BJP, along with its affiliated parties, top the list for party political groups, with a total expenditure of 34 lakhs in the past week. Its Indian National Congress and its affiliates spent $35 lakh. In the past month, it is estimated that the BJP has spent around Rs 1.2 crore, and Congress nearly one million.

These are not all-inclusive spending by political parties since multiple affiliates are involved in various campaigns. To create this report, Moneycontrol looked at the most popular five campaigns on Facebook and those campaigns that had spent more than 10,000, with BJP, Modi, or Congress in their name and English during the time. Thus, the amount of money spent on behalf of the respective parties and their associates could be more significant than what is the amount reported.

The data was derived from the Facebook Ad Library report, which provides the specifics of advertisements on political issues, elections, or political issues on the Facebook platform.

Elections and social media

Social media has emerged as an integral part of political parties’ plans over the past few years, with both the current ruling BJP and its opposition Congress leading the way in gaining and engaging its supporters for a single reason: there’s no downtime.

According to Harish Bijoor, Founder, Harish Bijoor Consults Inc, an agency for brand consulting says, “Social media is forever-on media, while traditional media is an on-and-off medium. It is important to focus on social media with this particular in mind. If it’s time for elections, that’s why the 24/7 media is an absolute necessity. It gives the possibility of spreading information and opinions 24 hours a day 7.”

This is reflected in the growing ad spending on social media platforms like Facebook in the past year amid a massive pandemic.

2022 elections

Numerous experts Moneycontrol talked to stated that the amount of money spent on social media during the upcoming elections could be much higher, and it will be even more crucial this time, due to the reduction in rallies held physically that is accompanied by the latest variant of COVID-19 that is on the rise.

The Election Commission has extended the restriction on rallies for political parties until January 31. Karthik Srinivasan, a communications consultant, said, “Political parties will spend substantially more on social media this time than previously because of the constraints due to the pandemic.”

However, amidst all this, one has to think about Koo’s substantial expenditure on Facebook advertisements.

A political ad from companies

In the top ten list of political advertisements, Koo was the only company in the top five regularly in the face of political parties. The two other social media/media firms that topped the list included ShareChat and DailyHunt. ShareChat has spent around Rs 2.3 lakh, while DailyHunt spent six thousand last week.

Check out the advertisements posted by these businesses On Facebook.

Koo’s advertisement on Facebook includes a photo of Union minister Smriti Irani, with a tagline in Hindi, which translates to: “Follow Smriti Irani on Koo and get special updates.” Similar tags are displayed in Koo to other political figures, such as Bhupinder Singh Hooda, a Congress political figure from Haryana.

On the other hand, the recent ads of DailyHunt were focused on topics like security information for lockdowns and the parliamentary panels. ShareChat featured fewer ads with videos requesting to share them with friends and family. A lot of ads were removed by Facebook because they violated Facebook’s policies on advertising.

Koo’s investment in political advertisements

Koo, an alternative to Twitter replica, was introduced in November 2019. The company saw its fortunes turn in February 2021 as downloads increased dramatically during a period when Twitter and the Indian government were at war regarding the moderation of content. As the Twitter-government conflict grew, Koo became a significant gainer, with prominent politicians jumping onto the bandwagon.

Koo downloads topped the 10 million mark in August, and as per reports, are currently at 20 million.

Srinivasan stated that Koo intends to present Koo in the form of an Indian version of China’s Weibo to steer the conversation away from the notion that Koo is a Twitter replica and instead focus on the local audience within the country. Weibo has been extremely popular within China for the local population.

Through multiple conversations with Moneycontrol, earlier Co-founder and CEO Aprameya Radhakrishna, Koo’s goal is to draw in a crowd of smaller towns and cities and engage them. At the same time, Twitter’s users are typically restricted to cities that are metros or tier-1.

However, here’s the problem. Contrary to China, which has two significant dialects (Cantonese in addition to Mandarin) and a myriad of varieties, India includes 22 of the official Indian languages and a variety of dialects. Therefore, while the concept of using a regional language throughout the country seems like an excellent idea on paper, it’s going to be difficult, Srinivasan noted.

However, to allow Koo to boost growth in these areas, elections provide an ideal opportunity. According to an industry observer who declined to be identified, they’re profiting from the circumstances. Mainly if the target market is located in areas that aren’t well-tapped, which Koo is focussing on.

Prashant Puri, the Co-founder, and CEO of AdLift, an online marketing company, said many mobile users live in India. While Facebook’s family apps make up the majority of the population, there’s a lot to be tapped into by Indian Facebook users, particularly in the tier-2 and three regions.

“So Koo has a language advantage to get a lot of non-English speakers onto the platform, especially since they are a much smaller platform compared to the other large players,” said the CEO.

The five states participating in the elections together cover 18 crore people, including Uttar P Pradesh being the most populous state in the nation.

“So for driving growth, elections could be Koo’s IPL moment to get users in the regional language platforms,” Srinivasan stated. Koo has formed partnerships together with NDTV, Republic, and Dainik Jagran to allow people to sign in to vote.

Why are different platforms not investing?

To begin with, Koo is still relatively new with platforms such as ShareChat.

Brand consultant Bijoor said, “Koo is a new player in microblogging. The brand has a vast area to cover over a brief time. Therefore, Koo must be a close second with Twitter in India to begin. Therefore, the brand is expected to display a lot of enthusiasm to accomplish this. I believe that this whole action results from that brand’s desire to be noticed.”

“Remember, in the microblogging space, unless you are number one or a close number two, with at least 30 percent market share, you do not count,” He added.

In terms of focusing on politics instead of another Indian platform, Srinivasan said that the primary focus of Koo is distinct. DailyHunt is a news aggregator rather than an online social media platform. Furthermore, many Indian social networks employ entertainment to attract users to join the forum.

“While apps use entertainment as a fulcrum for ads, Koo uses politics,” Srinivasan said.

In an announcement to Moneycontrol, Koo’s Radhakrishna stated, “Koo is a social network with Indians discussing over 1000s of various topics–sports, poetry, comedy, culture, arts, history, entertainment, politics, spirituality being just a few of the interests.”

“Like every company, we have several acquisition channels that let people in India and various interest groups communicate online. Facebook is one of those channels, as our attempts to teach users about Koo are also based on a variety of fields of interest,” he added.

Does it be effective?

But, whether this will benefit Koo is yet to be confirmed.

There are some problems for Koo there. The process of bringing customers to Koo is just the initial step. It must be able to keep the users on its platform. This is the biggest issue for any social media site, including Koo.

If one were to examine people using Koo with a massive fan base, their primary medium to share information remains Twitter. It is also cross-posted, as industry experts have pointed out.

Additionally, Twitter gets a lot of organic growth. “Every day, what people post on Twitter or tweets creates an interesting story. This is not the case for Koo. To increase the number of users, Koo will have to invest a significant amount of money in bringing people onto their platform.” Srinivasan said.

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Politics

A decline in trust in government demonstrates how critical local politics are.

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The trust in the government has dropped substantially across the world since the initial times of the deadly pandemic. According to the latest Edelman Trust Barometer, trust in the world’s government has dropped 13 points since May 2020.

In America, the decline is a part of a longer trendline. It is reported that the Pew Research Center has data dating back to the 1950s, which shows a constant decrease in trust in the government. It went between 73% in the year 1958 to a lowly 24 percent in the spring of 2021. Gallup data also indicate the long-term decline of trust in government at the federal level for both the legislative and executive branches.

When the government’s trust declines, it can have significant and grave consequences. Most people realize that a lower level of confidence in the government makes it more difficult for us to resolve our problems as a community and undermines the sense of belonging.

Particularly relevant in this moment, the lack of trust in the government can affect the perceptions of federally-funded or controlled agencies like those of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These organizations require credibility to be effective during an emergency. My group, called The State Policy Network, has monitored trust levels in various institutions during the outbreak. We discovered that trust in the CDC has dropped from 60 percent in March 2020 to 41% by December 2021. The lack of confidence in government reduces confidence in our processes and procedures, which allow for the peaceful exchange of power and the acceptance of the courts’ decisions. While distrust of the government is an old American tradition, a lack of trust in our leaders is bound to lead to disaster.

The foundation of trust is when the actions are consistent with expectations. The confidence within the Federal government’s performance has dipped because it seldom exceeds expectations, either through over-promising or not delivering. The federal government often claims that it can solve most of our issues if given more funds and authority. However, with each rise in taxes, regulations, and laws, the problem worsens. While the fundamental tasks of the government, like precise financial reporting and prompt tax processing, diminish.

The in-depth Gallup results reveal an intriguing pattern. While the trust level of the government in Washington dipped from 70 percent in 1972 to just 39% in 2021, trust in state governments fell by just six points, ranging from 63 percent to 57%, and the belief in local government increased by three percentage points from 63 percent to 66 percentage. While confidence in Washington falls, many believe that their local government can accomplish.

Surveys of public opinion over the last 50 years have shown that incentive programs have resulted in positive outcomes and increased trust within communities. The optimism is well-placed. Local governments are more efficient than distant Washington. It is more probable for them to be aware of the consequences of policies and act swiftly to rectify unintended consequences. In addition, people with leadership positions are likely to be concerned. Suppose the leaders of a community reside in the community they manage. In that case, they are more likely to have a stake in ensuring the most favorable outcomes and not only those that generate the most funds or receive the most significant public attention.

From the COVID-19 reaction to the state election laws being manipulated, The current administration claims that federal authorities should have more power to address the nation’s challenges. However, it’s been demonstrated that giving more control to the government will result in nothing other than more significant failures and further deterioration of the government’s credibility. The trust will only improve in the event of greater participation from the citizens. Local politics can be a model for nationwide achievement.

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Trump has announced his Tennessee House race endorsement, a test of his political power.

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The former president Donald Trump made his preference well-known by winning the Republican nomination for a newly created Tennessee House district before the hopeful candidate officially announced his candidacy for this seat. The community, located in Nashville, could be a chance to test Trump as a kingmaker within Republican politics.

Following the announcement that Tennessee Democratic Rep. Jim Cooper announced on Tuesday that he would retire after the current year, Trump touted a run to succeed him by the former State Department spokeswoman and Fox News presenter Morgan Ortagus. Although Ortagus has not yet announced her intentions to run, several established Republicans consider a run for the position.

REP. JIM COOPER ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT, CITING GOP TENNESSEE REDISTRICTING PLAN

“I am told the very strong and impressive Morgan Ortagus is exploring a run for Congress in Tennessee’s 5th Congressional District. I couldn’t be happier because she’s an absolute warrior for America First and MAGA!” Trump declared.

Ortagus Thanked Trump via Twitter, a platform for which he is suspended, for his endorsement; however, she has not announced her candidacy.

Nashville is a liberal-leaning enclave that is home to state government employees in the capital of Tennessee and scholars and undergraduates from Vanderbilt University, which is being divided into three districts. The district that Nashville-based Cooper was a member of for over 20 years (plus a 1983-95 House time in a rural region) is now being changed to favor Republicans. The goal is to transform Tennessee’s present House delegation comprised seven Republicans to two Democrats to eight GOP lawmakers and one Democratic one.

Trump’s decision to apply anointing to Ortagus has riled those who are his supporters. They argue that Trump should have backed the music-video producer Robby Starbuck. Starbuck put forth an effort to run for the post last year and has tried to align himself with Trump.

The former Tennessee State House Speaker Beth Harwell is also reportedly contemplating a bid to run for the Republican nomination, Maury County mayor Andy Ogles and attorney Kurt Winstead. A House campaign by Harwell, who was a former state Republican Party chairwoman, would be “formidable” in the race, according to John Geer, a Vanderbilt University political scientist who is also a co-director of the poll.

Despite what Geer stated, the new configuration of the 5th Congressional District is not an easy win for Republicans. If Cooper had decided to run for office, Geer said, “He might have been able to win.”

DEMOCRATS PUSH BIDEN TO HONOR PLEDGE FOR BLACK, FEMALE SUPREME COURT PICK

“He has name recognition, and people respect him and, and he’s, you know, not an AOC-type Democrat,” Geer stated and added that absent a notable Democrat becomes involved, “the battle now is likely going to turn to the Republican primary to see who gets the nomination and therefore has an edge in the general election come this November.”

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER

Democrats seeking to succeed Cooper are likely to include community activists Odessa Kelly. When it was clear that the state Republicans were planning to dismantle the 5th Congressional District to divide into its Nashville supporters, Kelly had already launched an initial campaign for the seat of Cooper, who is a leftist.

Kelly stated in a Facebook post that she intends to run for office. However, other candidates could also be in the race before the deadline for filing in April.

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Politics

The ordinary’s transformative politics,

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We voted for Democrats in 2020. It’s time that Democrats stand for us in 2022.

The nation faces the unavoidable consequences of climate change, a housing and affordability crisis, pandemics, gun violence, and racial inequality. As elected officials continue to take in more and more money day after day, working-class and middle-class families continue their losses. Corporate politicians from both parties are putting their financial interests ahead of their jobs.

I was not raised in a political family, nor was I groomed to run for higher office. I am a community activist, climate researcher, and rising educator. You can also vote for me in the State House.

If we demand it, I believe better is possible. We need someone to stand up and defend us.

Michigan should be a place where people thrive and can build a better future. Family incomes below $65,000 per year are eligible for tuition-free college or trade school. The environment and our posterity must be protected with a bold climate plan that stops Line 5 and implements comprehensive polluter-pay legislation. Michigan should also transition to solar and wind energy as soon as possible. It is essential to identify and root out the systemic causes of racism, hatred, and other forms of violence by reforming our institutions.

I am committed to keeping the promises made by the political establishment of Lansing.

Special interests were awakened when I announced my candidacy in April last year. A first-time candidate, who hoped to deliver for the people and not corporations, they disrupted the carefully calculated game of shifting positions from one political insider into the next. I was asked almost immediately to withdraw my candidacy. They said that I was too young and too naive to win. You can still have your chance in a few decades. Unfortunately, people elect their representatives.

These conversations always bring me back to why I started running: for real, tangible change.

The status quo is no longer appealing to people.

We are tired of being forced to choose between two options and repeatedly voting for the same politicians.

People want to make a difference for their families, children, and communities. They are not those who have been in government for many decades. People who have experienced the challenges and corridors of life. We are experts on the problems and have solutions. Let’s create a future we can be proud of.

I am asking for your vote to help me build something better on August 2nd.

A society that is fair and just for everyone. A system that will stand by you when you are ready to. A government that works for all, not just a few.

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