Facebook was supposed to hire thousands of additional people to review political ads. It's unclear whether these people were ever hired, but Facebook told Popular Information that it is relying primarily on "automated tools" to screen political ads before they run.
Excluding humans from the process, however, has allowed the Trump campaign to run whatever ads it wants on Facebook. It's now possible to watch them scam their supporters in real time.
Today, March 28, the Trump campaign is running dozens of ads promoting a contest: "Enter before 11:59PM TONIGHT for the chance to win the 1,000,000th red MAGA hat HAND-SIGNED by President Trump."
The Trump campaign, however, also ran ads about the MAGA hat contest with a midnight deadline on May 27, 25, 24, and 23. It is a false deadline designed to mislead Trump supporters by a fabricated sense of urgency.
These ads appear to violate Facebook's rules which prohibit ads that include "Misleading or False Content."
Most of the time, coverage of Trump's tactics on Facebook involves misleading the public about an important political issue. But this is a standard grift that seeks to manipulate people to extract email addresses and, ultimately, money.
But Trump hasn't stopped using Facebook ads to mislead the public on hot button issues. Today he is running ads that claim Democrats want to repeal the Second Amendment (they aren't) and relatives of immigrants aren't thoroughly vetted before entering the country (they are).
This is why Trump spends a lot of time claiming that Facebook is biased against conservatives. Trump’s campaign can then violate the rules and, whatever happens, it helps him. If Facebook does nothing, the campaign gets to continue to run false ads. If Facebook acts, Trump claims that it is proof of bias, an issue that fires up his core supporters.
Ideally, Facebook would enforce its rules without regard to the public relations consequences. So far, however, Facebook is just letting the Trump campaign do whatever it wants.
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