NEWS
12/03/2019 9:07 AM IST

Facebook Temporarily Removed US Senator Elizabeth Warren's Ads Urging Breakup Of Tech Giants

Facebook took down ads from the senator and 2020 hopeful that called for breaking up big tech companies, saying they violated brand policy.

Facebook temporarily removed multiple advertisements from Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign that called for breaking up tech giants, including Facebook itself.

The Massachusetts Democrat’s campaign placed the ads Friday on Facebook. The affected ads, which were nearly identical and included a video, directed Facebook users to a petition on Warren’s website asking them “to support our plan to break up these big tech companies.”

The proposal is part of Warren’s recent announcement to “unwind anti-competitive mergers,” such as Amazon with Whole Foods and Facebook with Instagram.

“Three companies have vast power over our economy and our democracy. Facebook, Amazon and Google. We all use them,” the ads read. “But in their rise to power, they’ve bulldozed the competition, used our private information for profit, and tilted the playing field in their favor.”

Sanjana Karanth/HuffPost
Screenshot of the ad that Facebook temporarily took down. The ad has since been restored.

Politico first noticed Monday that Facebook had taken down some of the ads, with the social media giant explaining, “This ad was taken down because it goes against Facebook’s advertising policies.”

A Facebook spokesman couldn’t confirm to HuffPost exactly when the company took down the ads but said they were back up on the website as of Monday evening.

“We removed the ads because they violated our policies against use of our corporate logo,” Facebook said. “In the interest of allowing robust debate, we are restoring the ads.”

The policy in question says that Facebook ads cannot use the company’s corporate logo in posts. The ads featured a video with a thumbnail displaying Facebook’s logo. The policy also requires that ads not use the Facebook brand in a way that makes the social media company a prominent feature.

Not all of Warren’s advertisements against tech giants were removed. More than a dozen other related Facebook ads that featured photos of Warren instead of the video stayed on the platform.

BuzzFeed reported that several former and current Facebook employees disapproved of the company’s policies and Facebook’s decision to remove the post.

Warren responded to the ad removals on Monday evening, highlighting the danger of Facebook’s ability to remove messages from its critics.

“Curious why I think FB has too much power? Let’s start with their ability to shut down a debate over whether FB has too much power,” she tweeted. “Thanks for restoring my posts. But I want a social media marketplace that isn’t dominated by a single censor.”

Warren’s antitrust plan to break up tech giants like Facebook comes after the company has repeatedly faced scrutiny over its power to control and distribute advertising and misinformation. Facebook previously moderated a political advertisement when it rejected an ad in November for Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.). The company later called the decision “a mistake.”