WASHINGTON — A mobile billboard demanding that Facebook ban Team Trump ads in accordance with its ongoing suspension of Donald’s Trump’s accounts will greet Facebook representatives following their Capitol Hill testimony today. The billboard, which reads “Nobody Is Above the Rules,” also features a video describing the ways the company harms users by preserving a loophole that allows banned hate and disinformation to spread via ad placements on Facebook.
Sponsored by Free Press Action and Common Cause, the mobile billboard began its route this morning and is continuing to circle the Federal Trade Commission, the White House, Facebook headquarters and the U.S. Capitol, and will join the “Rally to Investigate Facebook” at the intersection of 1st St. NW and Constitution Ave. NW from 2–3:30 p.m. ET.
See photos and video of the mobile billboard as well as the related petition.
Former President Donald Trump established and controls the Team Trump PAC, which is exploiting a loophole in his Facebook suspension. Facebook continues to profit from these ads, including ones that falsely claim the 2020 election was rigged and that Trump is the “true president.” A Facebook decision banned Trump following his use of Facebook platforms as megaphones for hateful rhetoric and election disinformation — which helped incite the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
The petition, signed by 140,000 people and delivered today to CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg, reads: “Trump may be off Facebook, but his ads are not. Trump’s PAC — Team Trump — has been running ads on Facebook, even though the former president is suspended from using the platform for at least two years. In essence, Trump is exploiting a massive loophole — and Facebook needs to close it. Facebook’s interpretation of Team Trump ads runs counter to campaign-finance laws. All communications disseminated by this PAC, established and controlled by Trump, are unquestionably in Trump’s voice.”
“Facebook is once again making up new rules as it goes, and bending the old ones beyond recognition,” said Rose Lang-Maso, campaign manager at Free Press Action. “It banned Donald Trump from its platforms but continues to accept advertising dollars from Trump’s PAC, allowing it to be a megaphone for the same lies and hate that led to the deadly assault on the U.S. Capitol. By Facebook's own admission, Trump is a threat to public safety. Why then is the company still willing to take money to spread dangerous lies from Trump? Facebook’s ad loophole is all too easy to manipulate—and others banned from the platform will surely use it in the future if it’s not closed immediately.”
“Months after Facebook officially imposed a two-year suspension on Donald Trump’s account for inciting the deadly January 6th insurrection, the platform continues to provide a pathway for the former president to evade the ban,” said Yosef Getachew, media and democracy program director at Common Cause. “Facebook has failed to define what content it considers in the voice of public figures and how politicians can use political committees under their control to circumvent enforcement action. Trump has exploited this glaring loophole by continuing to use his PAC, which he established and controls, to run ads and post content on the platform. Allowing Trump to exploit this loophole only signals to other violators of Facebook’s policies that they too can evade enforcement actions through the use of a different page run by a political committee under their control. We urge Facebook to close this loophole, align its content-moderation policies with campaign-finance law, and stop prioritizing profits over the safety of our democracy.”
Civil-rights groups are calling on Facebook to take immediate action to close the Trump ad loophole by:
- Applying the same content-moderation decisions governing an individual’s Facebook account to any Facebook pages run by a political committee or other political entity that this individual controls, maintains or has authorized, established or financed.
- Subjecting the Team Trump account and any other account under Trump’s control — including any account of a political committee authorized and/or established by Trump pursuant to campaign-finance law — to the same two-year ban as Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts.
Ahead of the “Rally to Investigate Facebook,” the mobile billboard reading “Facebook Must Close Trump’s Ad Loophole: Nobody Is Above the Rules” is circling Facebook headquarters in D.C. and other locations around Capitol Hill. Stops include: the Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW; the White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW; Facebook headquarters, 575 7th St. NW; Union Station, 50 Massachusetts Ave. NE; and the U.S. Capitol, 1st St SW, between the monument roundabouts.
Free Press Action and Common Cause have raised this issue with Facebook executives since July in a letter signed by more than 20 organizations and in meetings between civil-rights groups with company executives.