Facebook ads cost the company $5.6 billion in 2016, according to data from Kantar Media’s Worldview, which covers more than a dozen countries.
This was double the amount spent in 2015.
But it was still dwarfed by the nearly $3 billion spent by ad-tech companies and other vendors to promote brands in the United States.
That is why ad-supported social media sites, which have gained popularity in recent years, have been gaining ground in India, the country with the second-highest share of online advertising.
They are also the target of a campaign by the Indian government that calls for them to be banned.
“The current government in India wants to put an end to the ad-based model, and to ban all online platforms that promote illegal activity,” said Anand Bhattacharya, president of the ad industry body Advertising Standards Council of India.
He cited Facebook, which had nearly a quarter of the total ad-buyers in India.
Facebook’s business model, which includes ad-buying and advertising, has been criticized by some as having “abusive” practices that violate users’ rights.
Facebook says it has removed over 2.3 billion ads from India since it started in 2007, though it has not said how many of them are from illegal content.
The social network has come under scrutiny from the United Nations and other agencies because of allegations that it allows abusive advertising.
Facebook said it has received complaints from users about abusive advertisements that have been posted.
Facebook India, a subsidiary of the Facebook Group that also owns Instagram and WhatsApp, has also been accused of abusing its advertising platform to push products like video ads and sponsored content.
India has banned Facebook’s “sponsored” feature in a move that some say is designed to clamp down on fake news on the platform.
Facebook has said it does not plan to stop advertising from countries with strict laws on online hate speech.
In the past year, Facebook has become the focus of an international lobbying effort by the American Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which said it had been pressured by the US to ban the platform from India.
A recent report by the advocacy group Public Knowledge found that Facebook was the second most important source of ads on the site in India and that it received more than $2 billion in ad-related revenue in 2016.
In a statement, Facebook said its business model has evolved to help us deliver great content to more people across the world.
“We have worked closely with Indian government and the advertising industry over the last decade to improve our platform and have come a long way since the early days of our launch,” the company said.
“Today, we are delivering more than one billion videos, 10 billion photos, more than 700 million posts, and more than 150 million likes and shares to people around the world.”