President Trump ran anti-Twitter and Snapchat campaign ads on Facebook
Among the social media networks, Trump has a new favorite.
Trump has been on a warpath against social networks for their attempts to curb the spread of his inflammatory rhetoric on their platforms. Now, he’s deploying the conflict as a strategy for fundraising.
Facebook’s advertising archive, which is a catalogue of political and issue ads on Facebook, shows that the President’s Facebook page is running eight new advertisements against Twitter and Snapchat for “silencing” him.
The ads were published June 17, and were deactivated the same day. Despite how apparently short-lived they were, there’s still one platform that’s conspicuously absent from the crop: Facebook.
Trump and many of his Republican allies have been complaining about social media networks allegedly marginalizing conservative figures and news for a while. The claims stem from a 2016 Gizmodo article that showed how human moderators were involved in content curation of trending topics despite Facebook’s claims at the time that the process was algorithmic. However, there’s no evidence that social media platforms disadvantage conservative voices, including for any political reason. In fact, the content that routinely does best on Facebook is what’s most inflammatory, which often comes from conservative accounts like Breitbart and Fox News.
The conflict between Republicans and Silicon Valley intensified recently when some social networks began taking action against President Trump for remarks he made about Black Lives Matter protesters on Twitter and Facebook. Many characterized the remarks as inciting violence against protesters, and using racist dog whistles.
Twitter swiftly issued a content warning on the president’s offensive tweet, since it violated the company’s policy against glorifying violence.
Several days later, Snapchat said that it would no longer promote President Trump’s Snapchat content in its Discover section. Though Trump did not make the same statements on Snapchat, the company confirmed that the president’s “off platform behavior” contributed to its decision.
Facebook, meanwhile, kept the post containing the president’s same message as the tweet up and unobscured. Mark Zuckerberg defended the decision himself, doubling down on his position that users should have the right to hear what politicians say on Facebook, even if what they’re saying is offensive or false.
The Trump administration subsequently lashed out at both Twitter and Snapchat in spectacular form. While Trump commenced a tweet storm against Twitter, one of his campaign representatives, Brad Smith, accused Snapchat of trying to meddle in the 2020 election.
Trump actually elevated his presidential temper tantrum into signing an executive order, urging Congress to reconsider Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which generally protects internet companies from being sued for what their users post and how they moderate that content. The Department of Justice made a similar recommendation to congress Wednesday — the same day that the Trump campaign initiated a new series of Facebook ads.
“Snapchat is interfering in the 2020 Election by attempting to SILENCE your President,” the ads read, later asking viewers to support the campaign and linking to a donation page. The ads use the same wording and similar imagery for ads against Twitter, too.
Mashable has reached out to the Trump reelection campaign, which paid for the ads, to ask why they were deactivated. We will update this article when and if we hear back.
Judging by these (now-deleted) ads, Facebook’s attempts to appease the President appear to be working.