The President of the United States, Donald Trump, has been busy campaigning for the Republicans before the midterm elections. A part of this campaigning has been running official ads to promote the party agenda. One such ad played on Facebook furthering the Trump rhetoric on the alleged immigrant caravan. According to Facebook standards, the ad violated its rules of ‘sensational content’ and was after that removed.
Facebook has been notoriously related to several cases of dangerous hate speech and misinformation in the past. Some of the most famous cases include the Cambridge Analytica scandal of privacy data leaks. This scandal notably described how hackers had used Facebook as the medium to meddle with the US elections. CEO Mark Zuckerberg famously sat through a US Senate hearing over the case. Another fiasco emerged with the constant complaints of users against a lack of policy to curb hate speech on the platform. Several devastating real-life events have emerged as a result of this glaring hole in regulations.
Facebook has recently been in the line of fire again. Only a few days ago, the Intercept reported that the Facebook algorithm was still allowing racist ads to play. This came with context when one year ago, ProPublica also reported that it was possible to create groups with hateful tags as revolting as ‘Jew-haters.’ Facebook has also recently admitted to the allegations that the platform played a role in the appalling violence in Myanmar. This was a case of ethical cleansing with the region’s Rohingya Muslims being the sole recipients of the violence.
With the US midterm elections happening as we write, saying that Facebook management is anxious is an understatement. Another recent story is Facebook blocking 115 accounts with the intent of ‘coordinated inauthentic behavior’ during the midterms.
Trump’s Racist Ad
The recent racist ad by President Trump is under discussion and criticism for reducing immigrant Mexicans to rapists and murderers. The ad shows an undocumented immigrant Luis Bracamontes who was convicted of murdering two Californian sheriff’s deputies in 2014. The ad, in a disgusting attempt to generalize immigrants as savages, connects Bracamantos to the immigrant caravan. News channels including CNN, NBC have also blocked ad for being racist. Even Fox News, known for supporting Trump’s far-right policies, has blocked the ad.
The ad, in conclusion, urges its viewers to vote Republican in the midterms. It says:
“America cannot allow this invasion. The migrant caravan must be stopped. President Trump and his allies will protect our border and keep our families safe.”
Facebook has also clearly stated its policy in blocking the ad:
“This ad violates Facebook’s advertising policy against sensational content so we are rejecting it. While the video is allowed to be posted on Facebook, it cannot receive paid distribution.”
It is, however, to be noted that Facebook has not entirely removed the ad from its platform. The only restriction comes in the form of monetary compensation. The ad still runs on the Facebook page for the campaign manager for Trump’s reelection in 2020. The President himself has also shared it on his Facebook page.