Facebook bars pro-Trump PAC from advertising, citing repeated false posts


By Elizabeth Culliford and Katie Paul

SAN FRANCISCO – Facebook Inc is temporarily banning a Republican political action committee, the Committee to Defend the President, from advertising after it repeatedly shared content that was deemed false by the social media company’s external fact-checkers, it said on Thursday.

“As a result of the Committee to Defend the President’s repeated sharing of content determined by third-party fact-checkers to be false, they will not be permitted to advertise for a period of time on our platform,” Facebook spokesman Andy Stone said in a statement.

The company declined to specify the length of the advertising ban or which of the committee’s posts prompted it.

Politicians’ ads and posts are not subject to Facebook fact-checking, a policy that has drawn heat from lawmakers, but content from political groups like PACs can be fact-checked.

The group’s Facebook page, which has almost 1 million “likes,” has had four “false” or “partly false” fact-checking labels attached to content since the start of July.

The group was founded as the Stop Hillary PAC in 2013 and has spent more than $15 million to advance the agenda of U.S. President Donald Trump, according to its website. It claims to reach millions of Americans via digital and telemarketing channels.

It did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The Trump campaign likewise did not immediately respond.

Reuters, which is one of Facebook’s fact-checking partners, determined last month that one of the group’s advertisements took a quote from Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden out of context, misleadingly claiming he made racist comments in 1985. The Biden campaign last year wrote to Facebook asking the company to reject an ad by the PAC that it said was false, according to a CNN report.

The Biden campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

(Reporting by Katie Paul in San Francisco and Elizabeth Culliford in Birmingham, England; Editing by Matthew Lewis)

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