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Wednesday, September 16, 2020

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Facebook is claiming that their ban on new political advertising the last week before the election equally affects everyone and is simply an attempt to stop “misinformation” and at the last minute. However, they know that it is simply not true.

Make no mistake about it, Facebook’s recent announcement has little or nothing to do with stopping “misleading” last-minute ads, and everything to do with trying to stop President Trump and Republicans from winning at the polls this fall is true.


They know two things are true: 1) Facebook advertising is much more important for Mr. Trump’s campaign than for the Biden campaign; and 2) Communicating with voters via Facebook advertising during the last week before the election is much more critical for the Trump campaign and Republicans than it is for Joe Biden and the Democrats. 

When you look back at the 2016 campaign, the outsized role Facebook played in Mr. Trump’s victory is apparent and is noted by nearly every postmortem report written. In 2016, the Trump campaign spent more money on Facebook than any other platform while spending less than half of what Hillary Clinton spent on TV in the last month of the election.

On average, the Trump campaign at any time was running 40,000 to 50,000 versions of their ads on Facebook tailoring their messages to specific audiences they needed to reach and testing the effectiveness of different methods and messages.

Looking at how much each campaign is spending on Facebook this cycle makes it even more obvious how important Facebook advertising is for the Trump campaign and how much more crucial it is for Mr. Trump than for Mr. Biden.

Over the last 90 days, the Donald J. Trump for President Committee and the Trump Make America Great Again Committee has spent over $61 Million on 185,000 different Facebook ads. During that same period, Biden for President and the Biden Victory Fund has spent $33 million on just less than 28,000 different Facebook ads. Facebook is keenly aware of these numbers, understands the importance the Trump campaign places on Facebook advertising, and knows how crucial it is for the Trump campaign to be able to frequently change and update their ads and messaging (something they know won’t be able to do during the last week of the campaign).

Recent survey research conducted by the Pew Research Center shows that 60% of Trump supporters say they plan to wait until Election Day to vote while 58% of Biden voters say they will vote by mail and only 23% of Biden voters plan to vote on Election Day. With most of his supporters and potential supporters planning to vote on Nov. 3, it is crucial that Mr. Trump be able to run advertisements on Facebook encouraging and reminding his supporters to vote.

It’s also crucial for Republican candidates up and down the ballot along with state and county Republican Party groups across our nation to be able to reach potential voters online during the last days and hours before they go to the polls. With most of Mr. Biden’s potential supporters voting well before the last week, the Biden campaign and Democrats will still have that opportunity. Mr. Trump and Republicans will not.

Add the spending disparity between the Trump and Biden campaigns to the fact that a vast majority of Trump supporters plan to wait until Election Day to vote while Mr. Biden’s voters largely plan to vote by mail, and it becomes easy to see why Facebook wants to stop new political advertising during the last week of the election.

Facebook’s latest pronouncement is simply the latest and greatest attempt by Mark Zuckerberg, the liberal left and Big Tech to try to tip the scales in favor of the Democrats, to silence conservative voices online, and try to stop Mr. Trump and Republican candidates up and down the ballot from winning this fall. It’s a thinly veiled attempt to shut down Republicans GOTV advertising and to suppress Republican turnout on Election Day. They are simply answering Mr. Biden’s call earlier this summer for Facebook to crackdown on Mr. Trump and his allies’ ability to effectively reach voters via Facebook. We must not let them succeed.

• Andy Yates is founder of RepublicanAds.com


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