Facebook takes down 'sensational' Trump caravan election ad that has been condemned as 'racist'

Key Points
  • Facebook on Monday took down an advertisement run by President Trump's re-election campaign for violating the company's advertising policy against sensational content.
  • The ad has been called racist and urges Americans to vote for Republicans to stop thousands of immigrants from crossing the U.S. border.
  • The rejection comes as Facebook focuses on ridding its service of misinformation and harmful content.
President Donald Trump speaks during a rally in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., on Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018.
Bridget Bennett | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Facebook on Monday said it would no longer allow President Donald Trump's re-election campaign to run advertisements urging Americans to vote for Republicans to stop thousands of immigrants from crossing the U.S. border, saying the ad violated company policy.

"This ad violates Facebook's advertising policy against sensational content so has been rejected," a company spokeswoman said in a statement on Monday. "While the video is allowed to be posted on Facebook, it cannot receive paid distribution."

The 30-second advertisement, which CNN and others have called "racist," warns Americans of "an invasion" of 7,000 immigrants headed to the U.S.

"Stop the caravan. Vote Republican. I'm Donald Trump, and I approve this message," the advertisement says.

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The policy that Facebook said the advertisement violated states that "ads must not contain shocking, sensational, disrespectful or excessively violent content."

"This includes dehumanizing or denigrating entire groups of people and using frightening and exaggerated rumors of danger," the policy states.

The campaign spent at least $7,300 to promote the ad out of Trump's official Facebook page, according to Facebook data. The ad received nearly 11 million impressions and was shown primarily to Facebook users in Arizona and Florida, two states with close Senate races. One version of the ad was also shown to some users in Pennsylvania, according to Facebook data. Four versions of the ad promoted by Trump's official Facebook page were still live at the time of this writing.

Brad Parscale, the manager for Trump's 2020 campaign, criticized Facebook for rejecting the ad, along with NBC and Fox News, which also announced decisions to stop running the ads.


The removal of the ad comes as Facebook deals with a series of scandals related to the spread of propaganda, misinformation and harmful content on its services. In recent weeks, the company has removed numerous pages, accounts and advertisements for violating its policies, and with the U.S. election happening this week, many are watching Facebook closely to see how content on its social networks will influence voters.

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