Donald Trump Calls Facebook's Pre-Election Ad Hiatus a Political Plot

Donald Trump at rally in Warren, Michigan
Former President Donald Trump (Image credit: Emily Elconin/Getty Images)

Former President Donald Trump is branding Facebook’s pre-election restrictions on ads about elections and social issues as part of a plot by Big Tech and the media against him and Republican candidates in the midterm elections.

The restriction, which extended from Tuesday, November 1, through 11:59 p.m. PT on Tuesday, November 8, means the platform is "not hosting any ads about social issues, elections or politics in the U.S." It applies to candidates and issues on both sides of the political aisle.

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In a November 7 email to supporters trumpeted as "Breaking News" in red letters, Trump cited reports that Facebook parent Meta was "implementing a restriction period for ads about social issues, elections, or politics in the U.S. for the week leading up to the General Election Day."

Facebook had a similar restriction on the 2020 election following widespread pushback on the use of social media by outside actors and others to try to game the U.S. political system.

As for breaking news, Facebook itself talked openly about the repeat "restriction period" in a blog back in late September.  

While Meta said that the takeaway from the 2020 restriction was that it "achieves the right balance of giving campaigns a voice while providing additional time for scrutiny of issue, electoral and political ads in the Ad Library," Trump saw a more nefarious reason.

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"We know EXACTLY what this is: Big Tech is mercilessly censoring President Trump and true America First Patriots like YOU right before the most crucial Election in our Nation’s history," the ex-president wrote, suggesting that Facebook’s move was a Democrat-backed effort to keep Republicans from taking over control of the House or Senate. The former result is expected and the latter a toss-up, though the Senate is trending in Republicans' favor according to political handicapping site

The email's dire warnings, like most of Trump's emails, had as their goal raising more money for Republican candidates. Supporters and anyone else on the former president's email list, which includes some reporters, were asked to rush to their wallets and pocketbooks to stop the Democrats and their plot.

As this story was being written, the 14th Trump email arrived in this reporter's inbox, with this message: "It's obvious that the Fake News media is pro-DEMOCRAT when it comes to who they want to win today. I've never been able to trust what the Fake News media says, and I’m not about to start now."

The email, which per usual had a request for money at the end, billed itself as the only "Official Trump 2022 Midterm Exit Poll — the ONLY accurate poll out there." Its questions included "Which do you identify as, an American or a Socialist?" and "Who did you vote for in 2016, Crooked Hillary or Donald Trump?" ▪️

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.