Facebook announced a ban on digital advertisements from the pro-Trump political action committee The Committee to Defend the President for sharing alleged misinformation repeatedly, which is expected to continue past Election Day.
The move comes one day after the social media giant deleted a video the president shared where he claimed children were “almost immune” to the coronavirus, which the company said violated its coronavirus “misinformation” policy.
Fox Business reported that Facebook’s ban on the committee’s ads would last 90 days.
“As a result of the Committee to Defend the President’s repeated sharing of content determined by third-party fact-checkers to be false, they will not be permitted to advertise for a period of time on our platform,” said Facebook spokesperson Andy Stone.
A rebuke by the group claims Facebook’s “Trump-hating” fact-checkers “restrict free speech” by failing to assess their claims accurately.
“Facebook is determined to restrict free speech and attack those who dare to support President Trump,” said committee Chairman Ted Harvey in a statement obtained by the Washington Examiner. “When their liberal, Trump-hating ‘fact-checkers’ complained about the Committee’s first ad for correctly calling out Joe Biden, we changed it. When those same ‘fact-checkers’ didn’t bother to check the facts or even watch our second ad, they still banned us.”
Harvey continued: “The Committee will not be silenced by ‘woke’ Silicon Valley elites, as we expose the real Joe Biden. We have reallocated our entire Facebook budget to other online platforms, so Americans can see the whole truth — not just Facebook’s truth.”
The ad that prompted Facebook’s ban on Thursday asked African American voters what they had “received in return” for their political support of Democrats.
“Barack Obama is right,” reads the text accompanying the now-deleted video. “For the last 70 years a majority of African Americans have voted for Democrats. What have they received in return?”
Citing “the worst jobs,” “the worst housing,” and “distrust between law enforcement and their communities,” the ad claims a Joe Biden presidency would lead to “more of the same.”
Earlier this year, associates of former President Barack Obama sent a cease-and-desist letter to The Committee to Defend the President calling for it to suspend an ad that used Obama’s words to suggest that Biden supports “plantation politics.”
One currently paused anti-Biden ad from the group said, “Joe Biden praised a KKK member, partnered with segregationists, and wrote a bill that targeted and locked up thousands of Black Americans.”
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said last year on an earnings call that his company should not act as “arbiters of truth” by deciding what messages to block.
However, third-party fact-checkers are employed by Facebook to review claims from political groups, including from political action committees. An oversight board includes members with ties to liberal megadonor George Soros and Sen. Kamala Harris, a California Democrat who is believed to be one of the top candidates under consideration for the vice presidential slot on the party’s ticket.
Filings reveal The Committee to Defend the President’s substantial fundraising haul. The group has raised more than $11.4 million to date over the 2020 election cycle. Just a fraction of its $10 million spent during that same period has gone to Facebook: $324,195 since May 2018.
Established in 2013 as the “Stop Hillary PAC,” the Federal Election Commission mandated a name change for the group on the grounds it implied ties to Trump’s former Democratic opponent.
The Committee to Defend the President has almost 1 million followers on Facebook.