Facebook confirms that it has removed a controversial ad by president Trump from its platform. The social media company said that the ad violated its rules against “sensational content.” This move by Facebook comes after major networks such as CNN, NBC, and Fox News pulled down the ad after deeming it “racist.” The ad that runs for approximately 30 seconds features Luis Bracamontes, an illegal immigrant that was convicted in the US for killing two sheriff deputies in California.
The incident happened in 2014 and the Trump ad attempts to inaccurately connect Bracamontes’s crime to a migrant caravan from Central America that’s heading to the US for asylum. A Facebook spokesman said that while the video can still be posted on its platform, it will not benefit from paid distribution. According to the ad archive from Facebook, the ad seemed to target battleground states of Florida and Arizona ahead of the highly anticipated midterm election.
President Trump has made numerous attempts to vilify the migrant caravan heading to the southern border. He has repeatedly called the caravan an “invasion of our country” that must be stopped by all means. The same message was also repeated in the ad which urged viewers to vote Republicans as the solution to this issue.
Ad standards on Facebook are quite high compared to other social media platforms. The ad rules are also stricter compared to posting rules on the platform. One rule that presumably led to the cancellation of the Trump ad prevents advertisers from posting ads containing shocking, disrespectful, sensational, and excessively violent content. Despite the action by the social media platform, the video is still available on its platform. The rules for posting such content on the platform are a bit lax. The video is available in a number of pages including the page of Trump’s campaign manager for 2020. Trump’s official Facebook page has also shared the ad.
The migrant caravan that’s headed to the US border has grown in numbers over the last few weeks. It’s estimated that there could be nearly 7,000 men, women, and children in the caravan. The Trump administration has said that the migrants will not be allowed to enter the US. The president has also sent thousands of US soldiers along the border to supposedly defend the country from the “invasion.”
Defense officials have strongly maintained that the troops are only there to provide support for border enforcement agencies. However, it’s very unlikely that the soldiers will come into contact with the migrants. At one point the president appeared to insinuate that the soldiers were at liberty to fire at the caravan with deadly force if stones were thrown at them.
The tough immigration rhetoric has largely been used by the Trump campaign to rile up the Republican base. The GOP is facing a stern test to retain control of the House and turn out could be key to their chances. However, some analysts think that this may have had a negative effect on independent voters and moderates. The midterms are seen as a referendum on Trump and his style of leadership.