Facebook has blocked a number of political ads from Republicans ahead of the November midterm elections. Here are the ads blacklisted by the social media platform.
As the November midterm elections approach, social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter have been cracking down on what they consider “misinformation” on their platforms; Twitter has deleted 10,000 accounts at the request of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. The DCCC reportedly began working to have social media websites crack down on certain accounts following the spread of “misinformation” about Hillary Clinton and other Democratic candidates during the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election.
Facebook has also begun cracking down on certain messages on their platform, particularly in the case of ads. Interestingly, Facebook has become quite particular about the ads they allow on their platform in the past few weeks, despite VICE News regularly fooling the website into running ads that stated they were paid for by Vice President Mike Pence, President Trump and even ISIS with little to no verification of their legitimacy whatsoever.
Here are the Republican ads blocked by Facebook in recent months.
1: California congressional candidate Elizabeth Heng
Breitbart News reported in August that Republican congressional candidate Elizabeth Heng’s campaign video ad about the communist crimes that led her family to flee Cambodia for the U.S. was removed from Facebook, with the platform claiming that it doesn’t allow “shocking, disrespectful, or sensational” content. Heng tweeted a link to the ad on YouTube; she also asked Facebook if they thought they had the right to censor history.
.@facebook rejected my video because it was “too shocking” for their platform, referring to the scenes of horrific events my parents survived in Cambodia. Facebook, do you think it’s right to censor history? #censorship
Full ad here: https://t.co/SY0w1o327m pic.twitter.com/etvlZYK22N
— Elizabeth Heng (@ElizabethHeng) August 4, 2018
Following Breitbart News’ report of Facebook’s treatment of Heng, who is running in California’s 16th congressional district seat, the social media Master of the Universe reportedly reinstated the video ad on the platform. The ad can be watched below:
At the time, Heng commented on the issue saying: “It is unbelievable that Facebook could have such blatant disregard for the history that so many people, including my own parents, have lived through,” declared Heng in a statement. “I’m sure it is shocking for some people to hear about this kind of injustice, but this is reality. This is why I wake up every single day with the fight and determination to have a voice and make a difference in my community.”
Facebook reinstated the ad, with a Facebook spokesperson stating: “Upon further review, it is clear the video contains historical imagery relevant to the candidate’s story. We have since approved the ad and it is now running on Facebook.”
2: Rep. Marsha Blackburn
Breitbart News reported recently that a Susan B. Anthony List ad promoting Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) has now been restored. Breitbart News reporter Sean Moran writes:
On Thursday, Facebook decided not to approve one of Susan B. Anthony List’s ads within one week of the contentious 2018 midterm elections, which raises the question of social media companies’ undue influence in American electoral politics. The Susan B. Anthony List ad chastises Tennessee Senate Democrat candidate Phil Bredesen for his pro-choice views, while also promoting Tennessee Republican Blackburn as a “pro-life champion.”
Facebook responded to Breitbart News’s request for comment on Thursday, explaining that the ad should have never been disapproved and that they have restored the Susan B. Anthony List ad.
“This ad does not violate Facebook’s policies and should never have been disapproved,” a Facebook spokesperson told Breitbart News. “We’re sorry for this mistake – the ad has been restored and is now running on Facebook.”
The ad can be seen below:
— Susan B. Anthony List (@SBAList) November 1, 2018
Facebook never responded to Breitbart News’ requests for comment on why the ad was banned in the first place, however, the ad was eventually restored. The banning of the ad provided a stark contrast to Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s comments relating specifically to pro-life ads on the platform. In an interview with Axios, Sandberg asked rhetorically, “The question is, ‘Should divisive political or issue ads run?’” She continued to say: “Our answer is yes – because when you cut off speech for one person, you cut off speech for all people.”
3: President Donald Trump’s immigration ad
Breitbart News reported today that Facebook refused to approve an ad spot from President Trump, one which was also pulled from Fox News on Monday. Breitbart News reporter Robert Kraychik wrote:
Facebook announced that the Trump immigration ad “cannot receive paid distribution” on the platform after the company determined that it violates the platform’s rules against “sensational content.” Facebook did not specify exactly how the Trump ad violates the policy, but did say the video can still be posted by users. This decision follows a campaign to have the ads removed by left-wing journalists.
President Trump’s 2020 Campaign Manager, Brad Parscale, was quick to fire back at the platform. Parscale said that Facebook has “chosen to stand with those ILLEGALLY IN THIS COUNTRY. Instead of standing with LEGAL IMMIGRANTS and those that follow our laws.” He also referred to Mark Zuckerberg’s company as part of the “Palo Alto Mafia,” a term he has previously used to refer to Silicon Valley companies censoring conservatives.
As Kraychick notes, Brad Parscale hit back at the social media firm; his tweet can be seen below:
So, @NBCNews @CNN @facebook have chosen to stand with those ILLEGALLY IN THIS COUNTRY. Instead of standing with LEGAL IMMIGRANTS and those that follow our laws. The #FakeNewsMedia and #PaloAltoMafia are trying to control what you see and how you think. STOP THE CARAVAN!
— Brad Parscale (@parscale) November 5, 2018
Despite the backlash, President Trump still shared the advertisement in full.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 31, 2018
The ad, like Heng’s, reportedly violated Facebook’s rules relating to “sensational content” in advertisements, which does not allow “shocking, sensational, disrespectful or excessively violent content, [including] dehumanizing or denigrating entire groups of people and using frightening and exaggerated rumors of danger.”
This is just three examples of how Facebook has blacklisted political ads on the platform in recent weeks — but remember you can still post Russian-linked propaganda images and state that they’re paid for by Vice President Mike Pence — Vice News proved that Facebook has been quick to approve those ad purchases.