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article imageTrump Facebook ads used models and Japanese scenes to depict U.S.

By Tim Sandle     Jul 4, 2019 in Politics
Both the Donald Trump re-election campaign and Facebook have come under fire over a series of ads which suggest they show Trump supporters in the U.S., but are in fact something else entirely.
According to Business Insider, President Donald Trump's 2020 election campaign has included Facebook adverts which have been found to have used stock footage. The adverts indicate they contain an array of smiling Trump supporters, with people billed as "Tracey from Florida". However, the footage is not related to any recent campaign and some of the people in the adverts come from outside of the U.S., including Tokyo, Turkey, and the Europe.
The ads have been designed to disguise where they were made (with signs identifying the geography of some locales being pixelated out) and where the supposed Trump supporters actually come from. This lead both Facebook and a division of Trump's campaign (the Trump Make America Great Again Committee) to be accused of allowing fake news to propagate and this draws Facebook into political controversy (such as the eventual admission that more than 126 million U.S. citizens seeing Facebook posts disseminated by Russian-linked agents seeking to influence the 2016 presidential election).
The dubious nature of the ads was spotted by the journalist Judd Legum, who also raises some concerns about pro-Trump ads on Google. The distribution of the ads was heavily concentrated in the major U.S. states of Texas, Florida and California.
This is not the only scandal to affect Facebook this week. Straight after Facebook published its civil rights audit, news broke that Facebook has been hosting a private group where border patrol agents use hate-speech and violent and sexual imagery, including about members of the U.S. Congress (as reported by ProPublica).
Facebook has released a response. The response has been criticized as falling short of action, by U.S. civil rights groups like the Muslim Advocates, who write: "If Facebook has the capability to proactively remove content that violates its policies such as child pornography or ISIS-inspired speech and rhetoric, then it has the capability to remove anti-Muslim and white nationalist content just as aggressively. It is just choosing not to do so."
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