The Trump campaign just ran an ad that appeared to imply the president won re-election, even though Facebook said it would ban any election content declaring an early victory

Katie Canales
·3 min read
president trump
US President Donald Trump holds a Make America Great Again campaign rally at Lancaster Airport in Lititz, Pennsylvania, October 26, 2020. SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images
  • The Trump campaign ran an ad on Facebook that appeared to imply an early victory for the president, a move that Facebook has said violates its policies.

  • The ad features the president's face overlayed on a rising sun with a voiceover saying "it's morning in America. Donald J. Trump is still president of the United States."

  • Facebook said it would ban political ads that prematurely declare victory for a presidential candidate and would ban political ads starting on October 27.

  • The Trump campaign's ad is inactive in Facebook's ad library after running only on October 26.

  • Ads needed to run at last once before Tuesday to escape Facebook's political ad ban and to be approved in its ad library.

  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

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The Trump campaign has uploaded an ad to Facebook in which it appeared to imply that the president won reelection. Facebook has said it would ban ads declaring early victory.

The ad features President Trump's face overlayed on a sun rising over green hills, as well as on a hummingbird in the foreground. CNBC first reported on the ad. The ad features audio that states "it's morning in America. Donald J. Trump is still president of the United States." Flowers surrounding the hummingbird then scream "No!" The ad is reminiscent of imagery featured in the children's TV show "Teletubbies," which showed a sun superimposed with the face of a baby.

The ad's messaging is ambiguous — stating that Trump "is still president of the United States" would technically be true until Inauguration Day in January. But the ad exposes the tactics deployed by campaigns to circumvent Facebook's policies as the social media platform continues to face pressure for its handling of political disinformation and election interference.

Facebook said in early October that it would stop accepting political ads the week before the election, and would ban them indefinitely after the polls close. Ads needed to run at last once before Tuesday to escape the ban and to be approved in Facebook's ad library. The company also said in late September that it would ban ads that prematurely declare victory.

The change in policies led to campaigns and organizations creating ads that could be approved in Facebook's ad library and promoted at a later date — and this isn't the first time that the Trump campaign has used the work-around. Forbes reported that the campaign preemptively created ads touting GDP figures before they've been released, as well as ads that declare "Election Day is Today" that presumably will run on November 3.

Spokespeople for Facebook and the Trump campaign did not immediately respond to Business Insider's requests for comments.

The Trump campaign has shelled out over $65 million for Facebook ads since July 1, and Joe Biden's has also invested heavily in Facebook advertising. As CNBC notes, the Biden campaign, too, appears to have a number of inactive ads in Facebook's library, but none declare an early victory — most of the messaging features voter information and aren't pegged to a specific date.

Read more: 10 ad agencies that are driving $11 billion in presidential campaign spending as Donald Trump and Joe Biden race toward the finish line

Facebook has taken down ads run by the Trump campaign before. Just last week, the company plucked 48 ads with the phrase "your vote has not been counted" for violating its voter interference policy. Trump has repeatedly made claims without evidence that the 2020 presidential election will be fraudulent.

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