New Delhi: Brands in India are not breaking up with Facebook yet even though the social media giant is in the eye of a storm in view of the ongoing Cambridge Analytica data breach scandal.

Media buyers at several agencies confirmed that there has been no dip in advertising spends by their clients on Facebook.

Facebook’s strength as an advertising platform comes from the 217 million monthly active users (MAU) in Indian urban and rural areas, figures given by the social media giant. India is the biggest market for Facebook followed by the US and Brazil. It is also one of the biggest digital ad platforms second only to Google. Together, Google and Facebook command 70% share of the Rs9,000 crore digital ad market. Ad industry estimates Facebook to earn more than Rs2,000 crore from advertising in India.

“Some clients are extremely perturbed by the controversy. But there many who are still waiting and watching. We have not witnessed a drop in the media spends. Brands are getting user traction on the platform hence the controversy will not impact brand advertising immediately," said Anita Nayyar, chief executive officer (CEO) of Havas Media Group, India and South Asia.

Amardeep Singh, chief executive, Interactive Avenues, an IPG Group firm, said that in India the breach has not affected users and therefore there is no panic among advertisers yet.

“However, brands are curious and trying to understand what has happened, why and how can it be prevented," he added.

Facebook claims to work with the top 200 advertisers in India.

Besides, there are millions of small advertisers who have the option to advertise on Facebook for a dollar and the global controversy does not impact their business.

“As long as users are on Facebook and brands are getting their return on investment, marketers are not going to stop spending media money. The spends will go down only if a global company like Unilever or P&G decides to pull the plug on its media spends and mandates India to do it. For an Indian company or a small business, it does not make sense to stop advertising on Facebook," said Rajiv Dingra, founder and chief executive at digital agency WAT Consult.

Both Unilever and P&G declined to comment on the story.

“We are working to make sure our privacy controls are even more clearly visible (both on the app and website). In principle, privacy settings will be far more accessible; also the advertising that users want to see can be actively controlled. Whether they are advertisers or consumers they should absolutely know what we are doing and we will continue to reach out to them," said Sandeep Bhushan, director (India, South Asia) Facebook.

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