Facebook Removes Trump Ad Using Nazi Concentration Camp Symbol
“The President of the United States is campaigning for reelection using a Nazi concentration camp symbol.”
President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign shared a new ad on Facebook using Trump’s typical alarmist language about ‘dangerous mobs’ who are ‘destroying our cities’ and declaring Antifa as a terrorist organization. It is typical rhetoric from the President at this point, but more notably, the image accompanying the text is an upside red triangle, the same symbol used to denote political prisoners entering Nazi concentration camps.
The ad remained on the Team Trump Facebook page with nearly 900,000 followers until Facebook removed it for violating their policy “organized hate.” The ad started running on the platform on Wednesday.
Bend the Arc, a Jewish political advocacy group, said, “the President of the United States is campaigning for reelection using a Nazi concentration camp symbol… Their masks are off.”
The ad also appeared on Mike Pence’s official Facebook page according to Facebook’s Ad Library. The ad was paid for by the Trump Make America Great Again Committee, a PAC affiliated with Trump’s reelection campaign.
A deeper dive into Facebook’s ‘ad details’ shows the ad was targeted to women above the age of 45.
President Trump and the Republicans have been using Antifa as a bogeyman after widespread protests culminated in an uprising across the nation against police violence.
Facebook’s Ad Problem
Facebook has been under fire for several years for its ad policy. Critics have argued that Facebook is profiting off of controversial content and hate speech while not doing enough to combat it.
Civil rights leaders were disappointed after an early June conference call with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in which he refused to label comments made by Trump as violent.
“[Zuckerberg] did not demonstrate understanding of historic or modern-day voter suppression and he refuses to acknowledge how Facebook is facilitating Trump’s call for violence against protesters,” wrote Sherrilyn Ifill of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Vanita Gupta of the Leadership Conference for Civil and Human Rights, and Rashad Robinson of Color of Change.
Facebook employees planned a virtual walkout from a Facebook town hall after Trump’s ‘looters’ message was allowed to stay up on Facebook without a warning. Twitter put a warning on the same message that Facebook allowed to keep up.
Facebook has given users the option to opt-out of political ads, but the tech giant has resisted calls to fact check political ads even in the event where ads spread clear misinformation. Facebook also still allows microtargeting which allows campaigns massive access to user data in order to target potential viewers with incredible precision. It’s a feature that might allow campaigns to see results such as those with the Trump ad, where elderly women from the South see the ad the most.
On the day of the ad’s publication, the pushback was limited to Twitter and Facebook comments under the ads and posts. But, mainstream media outlets have begun to pick up on the direct link to Nazi symbolism from the sitting president.
Democrats have attempted to put pressure on Facebook in the past, including Elizabeth Warren who ran a false ad about Zuckerberg endorsing Trump for president. Facebook did not take down the ad.
Facebook and Zuckerberg have grounded the defense of their policy in arguments of freedom of speech and freedom of expression. Yet, Facebook has removed many posts about coronavirus and does censor other types of content.
In 2019, Facebook announced it expected to make $400 million in political ad revenue. Zuckerberg downplayed the number, “we estimate that these ads from politicians will be less than 0.5% of our revenue next year.”
The estimate may make up a small fraction of Facebook’s ad revenue, but PACs and super-PACs often throw around significant piles of cash for elections. Zuckerberg and Facebook downplay the amount of money taken from ‘politicians’ while skating around numbers about other political groups, like the one that posted the Trump ad with Nazi symbolism.