Facebook removes Trump ads on refugees and Covid-19

The Trump campaign began running the ads Tuesday with at least 38 different versions.
United State Border Patrol chief Rodney Scott gives President Donald Trump a tour of a section of the border wall in San Luis, Ariz., on June 23, 2020.
United State Border Patrol chief Rodney Scott gives President Donald Trump a tour of a section of the border wall in San Luis, Ariz., on June 23, 2020.Evan Vucci / AP file

Facebook said Wednesday that it had taken down ads from the Trump campaign that claimed without evidence that accepting refugees from abroad would increase risks related to the coronavirus pandemic.

“We rejected these ads because we don’t allow claims that people’s physical safety, health, or survival is threatened by people on the basis of their national origin or immigration status,” Facebook spokesperson Andy Stone said in a statement.

The ads included a video of Joe Biden talking about the border, overlaid with text about “the health risks” from an “increase in refugees.” It also alleged that Biden would increase the number of refugees arriving from Syria, Somalia and Yemen by 700 percent. The ads cited no sources.

The Trump campaign began running the ads Tuesday with at least 38 different versions before Facebook determined that the ads ran afoul of the company’s advertising policies.

One version was targeted at Facebook users in Florida and received 5,000 to 6,000 impressions before it was taken down, according to Facebook’s online ad library. Another version targeted people in North Carolina and received 60,000 to 70,000 impressions.

President Donald Trump’s campaign stood behind the ad, asserting again in a separate statement that if Biden were president and allowed in refugees, Americans would be exposed to further risk of Covid-19.

“When it comes to leading our nation through this crisis and delivering the Great American Comeback, Americans can rely on President Trump,” campaign spokesperson Courtney Parella said in the statement.