Politics

Lincoln Project called Facebook to dispute fact-check warning label on anti-Trump ad 'Mourning in America'

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Key Points
  • The Lincoln Project contacted Facebook to push the social media giant to remove a warning label it attached to the group's blistering "Mourning in America" ad.
  • Reed Galen, a member of the Lincoln Project's advisory board, said the group has been in touch with leaders at Facebook.
  • The ad, which recently aired on Fox News, triggered a Twitter tirade from Trump, who slammed some of the group's most prominent members, including George Conway.
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to reporters during a meeting with Texas Governor Greg Abbott about coronavirus disease (COVID-19) response in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, May 7, 2020.
Tom Brenner | Reuters

The Lincoln Project, a super PAC run by Republicans who oppose President Donald Trump, contacted Facebook to push the social media giant to remove a warning label it attached to the group's blistering "Mourning in America" ad.

Reed Galen, a member of the Lincoln Project's advisory board, said the group has been in touch with leaders at Facebook over the matter.

The ad, which recently aired on Fox News, triggered a Twitter tirade from Trump, who slammed some of the group's most prominent members, including George Conway, the husband of top White House advisor Kellyanne Conway. The Lincoln Project said it had its biggest day of fundraising, hauling in $1 million, after Trump's outburst.

The Facebook warning argues there is partly false information within the ad, which rips Trump's response to the coronavirus pandemic. The company cites a Politifact article for the reason it put up the warning. The article says a line in the ad, "Trump bailed out Wall Street, but not Main Street," is false.

"When I pointed out to Facebook folks that dozens of QAnon and other conspiracy [and] false pieces of content go by on their platform I got the verbal equivalent of a shrug," Galen told CNBC. He also said the group has made a direct appeal to Politifact, the third-party fact-checker for Facebook that recently labeled one of the lines in the ad as false.

The conversations with Facebook started Thursday, when the warning label was added, and have continued into Friday. 

A Facebook spokesman declined to comment for this story. The company's fact-checking policies state that if a group is successful in its appeal to the third-party organization, the template on the ad will be removed.

"If a rating is successfully corrected or disputed, the demotion on the content will be lifted, associated ad disapprovals may be lifted, and the strike against the Page or domain will be removed," Facebook's website says. 

In a separate statement, the Lincoln Project argued Politifact is wrong.

"Facebook states that their censorship is the result of a Politifact claim that the Mourning in America ad is 'false.' However, Politifact's 'grade' is based on incorrect and misleading information. Politifact cites the CARES Act as the reasoning behind their tag of 'False,'" the statement says. "The Lincoln Project does not cite the CARES Act as the basis of the claims in our ad. We cite Bloomberg, BusinessweekCommon DreamsNBC, Rolling Stone and a list of other reputable sources that back up The Lincoln Project's claim." 

Facebook has come under fire by some opponents of the president after working with his 2016 campaign.

The leaders of the PAC themselves have taken aim at the company since their ad received the warning label. 

"Trump allies at Facebook are censoring the Project Lincoln 'Mourning in America' ad page with a b.s. 'fact check,'" Wilson said on Twitter. 

The group sent out a fundraising email on Thursday slamming the decision by Facebook. 

"It's no secret that Facebook has stood by and done little to nothing as lie after lie — from the Liar-In-Chief himself — runs wild on their platform," the email reads. 

Other leaders of the organization include Steve Schmidt, John Weaver, Rick Wilson and Jennifer Horn. The PAC finished the first quarter raising $1.9 million and has just more than $1.2 million on hand. Its top donors include Walmart heir Christy Walton and Silicon Valley executive Ron Conway, records show. 

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