The large-scale digital press — including a group that spent nearly half a million dollars on Meta’s platforms during that period — comes as U.S. and international lawmakers consider adding conditions to a further support for Israel as its military campaign has killed at least 15,000 Palestinians, according to health authorities in Hamas-ruled Gaza. Israel launched its aerial bombardments and ground invasion of Gaza in response to the Oct. 7 Hamas attack in which militants killed about 1,200 people and took about 240 hostages, according to Israel.
POLITICO analyzed Meta’s ad library, or online database that tracks groups that buy paid posts on Facebook and Instagram over specific time periods. The tech giant is one of the few social media companies, along with Google, to disclose details of ad buying figures. POLITICO reviewed ads that ran between Nov. 2 and Dec. 1, based on the advocacy groups’ affiliations with the Israeli or Palestinian cause.
On the Meta platforms, which collectively are the largest social media sites in the world based on users, Among the groups buying pro-Israel ads are well-known names like the American Israel Public Affairs Committee as well as the Foundation to Combat Anti-Semitism, a group founded by billionaire Robert Kraft.
Their combined spending of $2.2 million outpaced almost every other entity during that period, except conservative news outlet Daily Wire and its affiliated Meta accounts which spent nearly $3 million, it found POLITICO.
In comparison, groups supporting Palestinians, Muslims and Arabs spent less than $20,000 during the same period on meta ads, POLITICO found.
“Tell Washington, now is the time to stand with Israel,” urged an AIPAC ad that aired in late November and targeted older social media users in states like New York, New Jersey and California, based on Meta transparency data.
Marshall Wittman, a spokesperson for AIPAC, told POLITICO that the organization was using its social media campaign to “counter false claims and ensure accurate information about the conflict is disseminated.” A representative for the Foundation to Combat Anti-Semitism did not respond to a request for comment.
The American-Arab Anti-Defamation Committee (ADC) has been the largest ad spender for Palestinian-aligned advocacy groups. The group spent just under $10,000 on Meta platforms between November 2 and December 1, even though almost all of its paid posts did not specifically mention the Middle East conflict.
“Help us protect Arab-American rights!” ” said an ADC ad, viewed up to 50,000 times by predominantly women aged 25 to 54 in states including California, New York and Texas, according to Meta data.
“The purpose of our ads is to let people know that we are here to protect them,” Abed Ayoub, national executive director of the ADC, told POLITICO. When asked why pro-Palestinian ad spending lagged behind pro-Israel spending, Ayoub said: “It takes a lot more money to change people’s minds about a lie.” »
Meta has banned Hamas and removes content praising the organization, which the United States and European Union have designated a terrorist organization. Linda Yaccarino, CEO of X, wrote in a October 11. letter that “there is no place on X for terrorist organizations or violent extremist groups” on the platform.
Lopsided spending on ads, many of which target younger users, coincides with growing skepticism toward Israel among younger Americans. A Quinnipiac University poll released last month found that 66 percent of respondents under the age of 35 said they disapproved of Israel’s response to the Oct. 7 Hamas attack, compared with more Americans. older people who were more supportive of Israel.
The largest pro-Israel advertiser between November 2 and December 1 was an organization called “Facts for Peace,” which spent more than $450,000 targeting Meta users under 30 in major cities like Houston, Atlanta and Los Angeles. The paid post – the fifth largest ad buy by an individual organization during that period – included a Palestinian citizen of Israel denouncing Hamas’ treatment of the LGBTQ community, and a video claiming: “While residents of Gaza suffer, Hamas leaders reside in villas in Qatar. .”
In one month, the group also gathered more than 18,000 subscribers on TikTok, which does not guarantee the transparency of ad purchases in the United States.
Facts for Peace does not reveal its funders online, but its Facebook page lists a phone number that matches that of Josh Vlasto, a former adviser to former New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
A representative for the group did not respond to requests for comment, although the Bureau of Investigative Journalism has previously reported on Vlasto’s ties to Facts for Peace. Semafor said he was hired to lead a $50 million media campaign funded by Wall Street and Hollywood billionaires to “define Hamas in the eyes of the American people as a terrorist organization.”
“Facts for Peace, that’s a big expense,” said Jeffers of Who Targets Me. “It’s serious money.”
Some paid pro-Israel posts violated social media rules. A Facebook page called “Bring Them Home Now” that spent $56,000 posting about Israeli hostages in Gaza did not reveal its backers, according to Meta transparency records. Listings without such a disclaimer have been removed.
The Israeli government did not purchase Meta ads during the period POLITICO examined, but X, formerly known as Twitter, in October stopped a paid promotion of one of its posts comparing Hamas to Islamic State.
Despite all the publicity, there is influence that money can’t buy, especially among young people.
In November, TikTok responded to the rep’s criticism. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.), who claimed without evidence that the platform may have been a “malicious influence operation” manipulating young Americans through “unbridled pro-Hamas propaganda.”
The company, owned by Beijing-based ByteDance, responded in a blog post that pro-Palestinian hashtags were more popular than pro-Israeli hashtags on social media. He pointed to Instagram, where the hashtag “standwithisrael” had garnered about 264,000 posts, compared to more than 7 million for “freepalestine.”
“Young people’s attitudes were oriented towards Palestine long before TikTok existed,” TikTok argued.