Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren is paying Facebook Inc. to run false advertisements that its Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg is endorsing President Donald Trump.
Warren’s campaign sponsored the posts which were blasted into the feeds of U.S. users of the social network, as it pushed back against Facebook’s policy to exempt politicians’ ads from its third-party fact-checking program.
The ads, which begin with the falsehood, quickly backtracks: “You’re probably shocked. And you might be thinking, ‘how could this possibly be true?’ Well, it’s not.”
Facebook’s policy meant Trump’s team have been able to share ads on the platform that allege former Vice President Joe Biden promised Ukraine $1 billion for firing a prosecutor. Biden’s campaign has dismissed Trump’s allegations as a smear.
“What Zuckerberg has done is given Donald Trump free rein to lie on his platform — and then to pay Facebook gobs of money to push out their lies to American voters,” Warren said in the ad.
Biden’s campaign has written to both Twitter and Facebook asking for the ads to be taken down, but the platforms refused, according to technology site The Verge. It quoted a Twitter spokesman as saying, “The ad you cited is not currently in violation of our policies.”
Facebook’s decision to both allow and publicize Trump’s ad contrasts with CNN, which rejected a request by the president’s campaign to run what the network called two “demonstrably false” claims.
“If Senator Warren wants to say things she knows to be untrue, we believe Facebook should not be in the position of censoring that speech,” Andy Stone, a spokesman for Facebook, said in a statement to CNN on the ads.
This isn’t the first time Warren has used Facebook’s own platform to make a political point. In March, Facebook took down ads from her campaign that called for the company to be broken up, but later restored them.
This time, Warren’s latest ads strike a more forceful tone, calling on users to hold the Facebook CEO accountable and to back her mission.
“Facebook already helped elect Donald Trump once,” the ads read. “Now, they’re deliberately allowing a candidate to intentionally lie to the American people.”