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Team Trump 2020 attacks Facebook over fears of ad targeting changes

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  • Trump’s 2020 election campaign is attacking Facebook over fears it might change how its ad targeting works.
  • The Team Trump Twitter account claims Facebook wants to make changes that will make it harder for politicians to target its users with ads.
  • However, while Facebook has said it is evaluating its advertising tools, it hasn’t made any indication as to what changes it may ultimately make, if any. 
  • Attacking big tech is perceived as a winning campaign strategy by politicians on both the left and the right.
  • Read more on the Business Insider homepage.

President Trump’s 2020 election campaign is lashing out at Facebook over fears that the social network may change its ad targeting options.

On Wednesday, the official Twitter account for Team Trump slammed the Silicon Valley social networking firm, warning that theoretical changes will “raise prices to put more of your hard earned small dollar donations into their pockets.”

The attack comes amid bitter and ongoing debate over Facebook’s policies on political ads. The company has been criticised for allowing politicians to lie in ads — a position it has defended on free speech grounds. And some critics, including a group of current Facebook employees, have called on the company to make changes to how political ads can be targeted in an attempt to rein in their impact. 

Earlier this week, top Facebook advertising exec Carolyn Everson said that it wouldn’t make changes to political ad targeting mechanisms, saying “that’s not on the table.” But she subsequently rowed that back, with Axios reporter Sara Fisher tweeting that “she says the company is still considering a number of options and nothing is off the table.”

Thus far, Facebook has given no indication of what — if anything — it might change about its political advertising tools, or given a timetable for any such changes.

But Trump’s campaign has presented the company’s comments as statements of intent to make changes that would damage its ability to campaign. 

In a tweet that begins “IMPORTANT” on Wednesday, the Team Trump account wrote that “@Facebook wants to take important tools away from us for 2020. Tools that help us reach more great Americans & lift voices the media and big tech choose to ignore!”

 

A Facebook spokesperson did not immediately provide comment on Facebook’s current intentions around political advertising.

The Trump campaign’s purported warning is the latest attack from a 2020 presidential hopeful, who have found big tech an easy candidate for criticism and for firing up their base. Trump and other American right-wing figures have repeatedly claimed, without evidence, that tech companies are trying to censor conservative voices online.

And on the left, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is part of a growing chorus calling for antitrust action to be taken against Facebook and other tech firms.

Do you work at Facebook? Contact this reporter via encrypted messaging app Signal at +1 (650) 636-6268 using a non-work phone, email at [email protected], Telegram or WeChat at robaeprice, or Twitter DM at @robaeprice. (PR pitches by email only, please.)

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