Facebook bans ads from The Epoch Times after huge pro-Trump buy

CNBC | 8/23/2019 | Staff
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Facebook has banned The Epoch Times, a conservative news outlet that spent more money on pro-Trump Facebook advertisements than any group other than the Trump campaign, from any future advertising on the platform.

The decision follows an NBC News report that The Epoch Times had shifted its spending on Facebook in the last month, seemingly in an effort to obfuscate its connection to some $2 million worth of ads that promoted the president and conspiracy theories about his political enemies.

Year - Accounts - Epoch - Times - Ad

“Over the past year we removed accounts associated with the Epoch Times for violating our ad policies, including trying to get around our review systems,” a Facebook spokesperson said. “We acted on additional accounts today and they are no longer able to advertise with us.”

Facebook’s decision came as a result of a review prompted by questions from NBC News. The spokesperson explained that ads must include disclaimers that accurately represent the name of the ad’s sponsors.

Epoch - Times - Method - Conspiracy - Ads

The Epoch Times’ new method of pushing the pro-Trump conspiracy ads on Facebook, which appeared under page names such as “Honest Paper ” and “Pure American Journalism, ” allowed the organization to hide its multimillion-dollar spending on dark-money ads, in effect bypassing Facebook’s political advertising transparency rules. Facebook’s ban will affect only The Epoch Times’ ability to buy ads; the sock-puppet pages created to host the new policy-violating ads were still live at the time of publication.

Nicholas Fouriezos, a reporter for the website OZY, tweeted about the move Thursday. It was first spotted last week by Lachlan Markay of The Daily Beast.

NBC - News - Investigation - Epoch - Times

A recent NBC News investigation revealed how The Epoch Times had evolved from a nonprofit newspaper that carried a Chinese-American religious movement’s anti-communism message into a conservative online news behemoth that embraced President Donald Trump and conspiracy content.

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