Facebook India says ad spends unaffected by Cambridge Analytica controversy

Facebook India says ad spends unaffected by Cambridge Analytica controversy
Photo Credit: Shah Junaid/VCCircle
18 May, 2018

Facebook India's director Sandeep Bhushan said that there has been no reduction in advertising spends nor have customers' budgets gone down in the wake of a recent data privacy controversy involving the social network, The Economic Times reported.

“There is absolutely no loss at all in advertising. We have clearly said we are making changes both on privacy and on the larger area of how there is content on the platform,” Bhushan was quoted as saying. 

Facebook said last month that the personal information of up to 87 million users, mostly in the United States, may have been improperly shared with political consultancy Cambridge Analytica, which allegedly used the data to influence the outcome of the 2016 US presidential elections. 

The incident had triggered global outrage and multiple government inquiries in the US and the UK in particular over Facebook's handling of user data.

Cambridge Analytica and its British parent SCL Elections Ltd announced earlier this month that they would shut down immediately

Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg had earlier said that his firm had not seen “any meaningful impact” on usage or ad sales since the scandal.

Bhushan told The Economic Times said the impact of the Cambridge Analytica controversy on users in India has been fairly low.

"Consumers are aware that they have not been impacted. They also know we are acting now to make sure they are not impacted in the future. Advertisers continue to see tremendous value and know there is no material consumer difference on the platform," Bhushan was quoted as saying.

Bhushan told the newspaper that though spends have not gone down, Facebook had its work cut out. 

"We have made significant changes in the area of apps for instance. We expect a 30% growth on advertising on digital platforms in general and there is no reason for Facebook to be behind that for sure,” he added.

The India director also revealed that the company had partnered with KPMG to launch a series of whitepapers, starting with the mobile handset industry, to reduce volatility in purchase patterns. He added that the company will share these studies later.

"We are going after understanding multiple categories this year in India. Smartphone is the first one but we will move to consumer goods, travel and fashion going forward,” he explained.