Facebook removed misleading census ads from Trump’s campaign

Mark Zuckerberg Donald TrumpReuters/Drew Angerer/Getty Images

  • Facebook has removed a series of ads posted by the Trump campaign that gave the misleading impression respondents would be taking part in the official 2020 US census.
  • One of the ads reportedly read: “President Trump needs you to take the Official 2020 Congressional District Census today,” implying the survey it linked to – a survey on Republican talking points – was the official census.
  • A Facebook spokesperson told Business Insider that “there are policies in place to prevent confusion around the official US Census and this is an example of those being enforced.”
  • Facebook has faced criticism for its general unwillingness to fact-check political ads published on its platform, though it seems to draw the line at interfering with the US census.
  • Business Insider has approached the White House for comment.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Facebook has removed a series of ads posted by the Trump campaign that gave the impression respondents would be taking part in the official 2020 US census.

According to BBC News, one of the ads read: “President Trump needs you to take the Official 2020 Congressional District Census today,” implying the survey it linked to was the official census. The survey featured Republican themes like “Obamacare,” “the Democrats’ failed Impeachment Witch Hunt” and “Nancy Pelosi and the Radical Left.”

The official 2020 US census gathers data about the US population and determines how federal funding is allocated between states, as well as determining the number of seats each state has in the House of Representatives.

Census Day is not observed until 1 April 2020, by which time every home will receive an invitation to participate in the 2020 census.

Commenting on its decision to remove the ads, a Facebook spokesperson told Business Insider that “there are policies in place to prevent confusion around the official U.S. Census and this is an example of those being enforced.” The spokesperson didn’t say how many ads had been removed.

The social media giant has faced months of criticism for its general unwillingness to fact-check political ads published on its platform, though it seems to draw the line at interfering with the US census.

Perhaps the most notorious example of this unwillingness centered on its refusal to remove a 2019 Trump campaign ad containing a debunked claim about Joe Biden.

The ad, which ran in a few different variants, claimed that “Joe Biden promised Ukraine $1 billion dollars if they fired the prosecutor investigating his son’s company,” according to Facebook’s ads library. PolitiFact and Factcheck.org, two of Facebook’s fact-checking partners, had previously debunked the claim.

Business Insider has approached the White House for comment.

https://markets.businessinsider.com/news/stocks/facebook-removed-misleading-census-ads-from-trump-campaign-2020-3-1028971632

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