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Trump campaign ads bypass Facebook’s voting rules

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President Donald Trump will hold a campaign event at HoverTech International in Allentown, Pennsylvania on October 26, 2020.

Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty Images

Although election day is still a week away, President Donald Trump’s campaign appears to have a victory ad on Facebook.

A video in the ad shows the president’s face over a sun, with voice-over from various sources. “It’s morning in America. Donald J. Trump is still President of the United States,” the video reads. Flowers rise from the ground and open into faces that say “NOOOO!” scream. how the smiling President, now also a hummingbird, flies around.

Trump’s Facebook ad.

Facebook advertising library

Trump’s campaign, which also features ads boasting of as yet unpublished GDP numbers and others begging people to “vote today,” with graphics that read “Election Day is Today,” seems to be his way within the Facebook rules for. to work Political advertising in the run-up to the election.

Facebook said hours after posting this story that it would remove the “Vote Today” ads. “As we have made clear in our public communications and directly on campaigns, we are banning ads that say ‘Vote Today’ without additional context or clarity,” the company said in a statement.

A company spokeswoman also said that the “President Trump is STILL your President” advertisement is allowed as the president will continue in his role until January 20 regardless of the outcome of the election.

The ads are visible in Facebook’s Political Ads Library, a database of all the political ads that run on Facebook even though they’re not currently paid to appear on people’s newsfeeds. But all of the ads in the library have been running, at least temporarily, to qualify ahead of Facebook’s new political advertising ban, which went into effect on Tuesday.

Facebook announced last month that it would not accept any new political ads in the week leading up to the November 3rd election, starting October 27th. Advertisers could submit and run new ads until midnight Pacific time Monday.

In its guidelines, Facebook says it does not allow “premature victory advertising” when it relates to the 2020 election and is aimed at people in the United States

Trump’s campaign did not comment on the ads.

This policy opened the door for political advertisers to run a variety of ads with different messages that they could later promote just before election day. All ads that have received at least one impression before the deadline has expired, that is, seen by at least one person on Facebook, can be shown again in the week in which new ads are blocked. Advertisers can change their spend and targeting for the ads, but they cannot change the landing page, creative, video, text, or links in the ads.

Put simply, ads only had to run briefly before October 27th to be run again after the deadline.

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s campaign also had a number of new inactive and active ads, but these appeared to have largely vague messages. Many ask voters to take a poll. Another ad reminds voters in the run-up to election day that people can vote as long as they are in line when the polls close. Some, who launched on October 25th, say, “Election day is November 3rd – make sure your voice is heard and vote.” Others provided information about early voting in various states.

All political Facebook ads, including those that have already been run, can no longer run in the US for an indefinite period of time after the polls are completed on November 3rd. The company said this was “to reduce the likelihood of confusion or abuse”.

– CNBC’s Michelle Gao contributed to this report.

WATCH: How Trump and Biden use campaign apps to mine treasure trove of voter data

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