Facebook removes Trump campaign’s misleading ‘census’ ad

March 5, 2020, 11:19 PM UTC

Facebook will remove ads from U.S. President Donald Trump that encouraged users to take the “Official 2020 Congressional District Census,” but included a link that led them to a re-election campaign survey unrelated to the official U.S. Census.

The social network, which has come under fire for its policy against fact-checking ads from politicians, makes exceptions for ads that share misleading information around certain categories, like voting or the 2020 Census.

The ads were published on March 4, according to Facebook’s ad library, and versions of the spot were still active as of 3 p.m. New York time on Thursday. A Facebook spokesperson said the ads are in the process of being rejected.

“There are policies in place to prevent confusion around the official U.S. Census and this is an example of those being enforced,” the company spokesperson said in the statement.

The ads were up long enough for some of Trump’s political rivals to notice them. U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said earlier Thursday that the ads were “very concerning” and called them “a lie.” Clicking on the ad brings users to a survey asking for a person’s age and party affiliation, and claims to be sponsored by Trump’s re-election campaign. Facebook’s planned removal of the ads was reported earlier by NPR.

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