Facebook Ad Policy Challenged by False Claim Republican Graham Backs Green New Deal

A left-leaning political group is challenging Facebook’s policy not to fact-check some political ads by running a spot that falsely claims Republican Senator Lindsey Graham has endorsed the Green New Deal, a plan by prominent Democrats.

Facebook Inc <FB.O> has come under fire in recent weeks over its decision to not fact-check ads run by politicians. The new ad comes days after Green New Deal champion Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez grilled Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on whether his site would allow such an ad.

“Could I run ads targeting Republicans in primaries saying that they voted for the Green New Deal?,” Ocasio-Cortez asked the tech executive at a congressional hearing on Wednesday.

“Congresswoman, I don’t know the answer to that off the top of my head,” Zuckerberg replied. “I think probably.”

Facebook has drawn criticism over its ad policy from Democratic candidates running in the 2020 presidential election such as former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Elizabeth Warren.

Last week, Zuckerberg said Facebook did not want to stifle political expression.

Facebook spokesman Tom Channick said that since the new ad came from a political action group, rather than a politician, it was eligible for review by the company’s third-party fact-checking partners.

“We have sent it to them for review,” Channick told Reuters, adding that the ad would be removed if found to be false.

The new ad cycles through archive footage of Republicans such as former Presidents Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon before splicing together two real videos of Graham to make it look as if he said, “We believe in the Green New Deal.” It also mentions the false endorsement in the ad text.

Senator Graham’s office said it was aware of the ad and confirmed the senator opposes the Green New Deal, a proposal championed by Ocasio-Cortez that would eliminate U.S. greenhouse gas emissions within a decade.

Graham has previously called the proposal a “disaster” and said it would “destroy the American economy.”

Adriel Hampton, treasurer of the group behind the ad, The Really Online Lefty League, said he came up with the idea to draw attention to the problems around false claims in online political advertising. He has spent $50 to show the ad online.

“There appears to be little to nothing to stop serious election manipulation through false advertising, and that’s bad for our democracy,” Hampton said in an email to Reuters.

Ahead of the November 2020 election, lawmakers have also expressed concerns over the spread of misinformation through manipulated video, particularly deepfakes, which use machine learning to create realistic content where a person appears to say or do something they did not.

The video of Graham was manually edited, Hampton said. “No deepfakes needed,” he said. “Very low-budget, very easy to do.”

He said that he intended the false claim to be obvious to spot by including the claim that Graham endorsed the Green New Deal in the ad’s text.

“While a lot of people think our ad is funny, we’ve seen a lot of folks taking it at face value, and THAT is alarming,” he added.

(Additional reporting by Susan Heavey in Washington; Reporting by Elizabeth Culliford, editing by Peter Henderson and Cynthia Osterman)

Responses

    1. Too bad some bozo made the first reply disappear. If I recall correctly, it was interesting in itself. Now, nobody can read it.

    2. Most articles do go over his head.

      I think that may be why so many of these members go off on so many random tangents in their responses.

  1. “Last week, Zuckerberg said Facebook did not want to stifle political expression.” Article

    Zuckerberg is not confused by which side his toast is buttered on. He doesn’t want to “stifle political expression” because cutting out lying ads would cut down on income.

    At some point, Facebook is going to have to change its policy regarding political ads with lies. This tiny test exposes just the tippy-top of a huge iceberg. Someone will think up a much more devious and subtle ad and properly fund it. THEN watch the sparks fly!

  2. The Green Nutty Deal” to destroy the World’s economy? NOBODY is that stupid – – – unless they’re totalitarians or Marxists like AOC.

    1. WHO thought anyone would believe a Hawaiian birth certificate was not evidence of birth in Hawaii? WHO thought anyone would believe Hillary and Podesta were running a child sex trafficking ring in the basement of a pizza establishment that did not have a basement? There were many lessons of the 2016 campaign—One I will never forget is to not underestimate the number of Americans that lack common sense.

      1. Yes, there does appear to be a lack of common sense and loyalty to America on the hate-America Left.
        Nothing new; is expected.

        Also, I have brought up about the fraudulent Hawaiian birth certificate to illustrate “some people” refuse to accept the fact it was proven scientifically to be a forged document. Even Barry’s own half brother – Malik – proved it was a fake by showing the original Kenyan birth certificate; plus Barry’s own words in July 2018 when he said at a gathering in Kogelo, Kenya: QUOTE: Now, three years ago I visited Kenya as the FIRST American President to come from Kenya. END QUOTE.

        So, who do you believe: the propagandists on the hate-America Left; OR the words out of the man’s own mouth? Even his wife/husband says Kenya is “his home Country”. Could have been just another of his many lies while masquerading as an American DemocRAT.

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