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Fact check: Facebook is still accepting Donald Trump campaign ads

Alissa Zhu USA TODAY

Published 7:27 PM EDT Sep 15, 2020

The claim: Facebook is banning President Donald Trump from advertising on the social media site

Social media plays a critical role for political campaigns. And some are claiming candidates are being limited in their use of it. 

An Aug. 23 post on Facebook shared more than 11,000 times claimed that Facebook is “banning Trump from advertising for president.”

“Trump 2020!!” the post reads. “FLOOD FB WITH THIS!”

The user who posted the statement on Facebook did not respond to a request for comment.

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Trump campaign is advertising

Facebook is not barring President Donald Trump’s campaign from advertising on the social media platform, as some viral Facebook posts claim.

Facebook’s ad library provides a searchable database of all active and inactive advertisements from Trump’s Facebook page. It shows that in the first week of September alone, Trump’s page spent more than $4.6 million on ads.

“There is no truth to this; in fact, the president’s re-election campaign is running ads on our platform right now,” said Brittany Uter, a Facebook spokesperson.

In August, Facebook temporarily barred a Republican political action committee, the Committee to Defend the President, from advertising for repeatedly sharing content determined by third-party fact-checkers to be false. While content posted by political action committees is subject to fact-checking on Facebook, politicians’ posts and ads are not.

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Facebook and political content

The social media giant has come under fire in the past for its policies regarding political ads and posts. Russian trolls and bots used the platform to spread misinformation and controversy before the 2016 election.

Facebook also has been criticized for its lack of action against posts or ads by Trump that appear to condone or threaten violence or contain misinformation. In contrast, rival social media company Twitter has labeled or restricted a few of the presidents’ posts that violate platform rules or contain misleading information.

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In limited cases, Facebook has removed advertisements from the Trump campaign. In June, the platform took down an ad that displayed a symbol used by Nazis. The company said the ads violated its “policy against organized hate.”

Facebook recently announced it will not accept new political ads in the week before Election Day in November.

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Our rating: False

This claim is FALSE, based on our research. Facebook is not barring Trump’s campaign from buying ads on the social media site. Facebook has announced that it will not accept new political ads in the week before the November election. 

Our fact-check sources:

  • Brittany Uter, Facebook spokesperson
  • Facebook ad library 
  • Reuters, Aug. 6, “Facebook bars pro-Trump PAC from advertising, citing repeated false posts”
  • Politico, May 29, “Zuckerberg: Facebook leaving up Trump’s ‘shooting’ post”
  • The New York Times, June 18, “Facebook Removes Trump Ads Displaying Symbol Used by Nazis”
  • The Associated Press, June 18, “Facebook removes Trump ads with symbols once used by Nazis”
  • USA TODAY, Sept. 3, “Facebook won’t allow new political ads the week before the November presidential election”

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Our fact check work is supported in part by a grant from Facebook.

Published 7:27 PM EDT Sep 15, 2020

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