Trump allies dodging Facebook ban with ads: analysis

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  • Donald Trump
    Donald Trump
    45th President of the United States

A group affiliated with former President Trump is evading his ban from Facebook with thousands of ads, according to a report released by the left-leaning nonprofit Media Matters for America.

Trump has been barred from posting on Facebook since early this year for posts made after the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

The platform also blocked obvious work-arounds to that ban, removing videos of him speaking and ads directly linking to his website. However, it does allow posts or ads that are not directly Trump's "voice."

MMFA's report knocks the platform, asserting it does not adequately apply that standard.

The Save America Joint Fundraising Committee, a joint venture between Trump's Make America Great Again PAC and Save America leadership PAC, has run nearly 5,000 ads in the last five months, earning potentially 40 million impressions.

Many of the ads include Trump speaking, falsely suggest that the 2020 presidential election was "tainted" and link to the former president's fundraising page on WinRed, the GOP fundraising platform.

Several of the ads also mirror the third-person phrasing that Trump used in ads before being banned from the platform, according to the report.

A spokesperson for Meta, the newly formed Facebook parent company, did not respond to the findings of the MMFA report or examples of ads that appear to flout the ban, but reiterated the platform's policy.

"President Trump is suspended from Facebook so he can't post at all," the spokesperson said. "Groups affiliated with the former president are not barred from posting on Facebook so long as they are not posting in his voice."

Facebook announced in June that Trump would be barred from the platform until at least January 2023, when the ban will be re-evaluated.

Critics worry that allowing more evasions of the ban paves the way for Trump's account to be restored.

"I think this is relevant because to me, the softening of this has bigger implications for what Facebook is going to do when it comes time to make a decision about letting him back on the platform," said MMFA president Angelo Carusone.

"People will wonder when they restore his account 'how the hell they let this happen,'" he added. "Well, no, it didn't seem very shocking if you were watching all these things happen along the way, which has been slowly but surely softening their application of their rules."

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