The 2020 presidential race is continuing to heat up — and social media platforms like Facebook are again at the center of some of the action. This week, the Popular Information newsletter reported that after they placed an inquiry, Facebook removed a Trump campaign advertisement that was explicitly targeting women and associating their gender identity with their support or opposition of the controversial Republican incumbent. The ad violates Facebook rules, the publication notes, in line with concerns about privacy and explicit singling out of particular groups.
Including a button where viewers could click to add their name — and presumably soon after be directed to donate funds to Trump 2020 — the campaign ad in question sported the message in big, bold text:
‘The Women for Trump Coalition needs the strong support of women like you!’
A photo of (conspicuously mostly if not entirely white) women laid behind the message, and the ad started running, apparently, on August 16. After Popular Info got in touch with the platform over the ad clearly violating their rule that ads must not include “direct or indirect assertions or implications about a person’s… gender identity,” a spokesperson told the publication:
‘We’ve notified the campaign that the ads violate policy. They can’t continue to run unless fixed.’
This particular ad is far from the only similar issue with Trump campaign advertising. Earlier this year, they were caught running video ads that featured individuals like one who allegedly had abandoned the Democratic Party in support of the Trump campaign. None of the people actually existed as portrayed — all of the imagery suggesting as such came from stock image companies. The Trump team paired supposedly real personal testimonials with these images. Hilariously enough — all of the three stock clips used in the ad were snapped outside the United States.
It doesn’t end there. As of early this Tuesday, the Trump campaign was running an ad claiming that Democrats had “finally admitted” that they “truly want” a repeal of the Second Amendment, which guarantees a right to bear arms. That is a blatantly false claim — not a single elected Democrat on the national level is currently making any such call, Popular Info notes.
Rather, Democrats are pushing for common sense, widely supported gun control reforms like the imposition of universal background checks for gun purchases. Months ago, the Democrat-majority House passed a bill including that demand. They’re still waiting for the Republican-majority Senate to even take it up.
As for Facebook itself, the company apparently “relies primarily on automated tools to check ads against these policies,” which include one against lies. Popular Info raised the issue of a similarly styled ad in favor of the Second Amendment back in May, but — a spokesperson that promised to “get back to” the publication over the incident never did. Ads making the false claim are still up.
Popular Info noted that Facebook “appears unwilling to vigorously enforce its rules prohibiting false and misleading content, which is a rule that protects the public.” They could have a great incentive for this — in the past little over one year, the Trump campaign has spent almost $17 million on ads.
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