Facebook is refusing a request from Joe Biden’s campaign to remove a video ad by President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign that alleges the former vice president of nefarious dealings with Ukraine.
The Trump campaign ad will remain on the platform, Facebook’s head of global elections policy, Katie Harbath, said Tuesday, contending it’s decision is “grounded in Facebook’s fundamental belief in free expression, respect for the democratic process, and belief that in mature democracies with a free press, political speech is already arguably the most scrutinized speech there is.”
The tech giant also noted it does not use “third-party fact-checkers” to evaluate comments or commercials promoted by politicians and insisted the video does not violate the company’s policies.
The Biden campaign shot back calling Facebook’s decision “unacceptable.”
The thirty-second advertisement asserts Biden offered “Ukraine $1 billion to fire the prosecutor investigating a company affiliated with his son.”
The ad repudiates Biden for threatening to withhold $1 billion in loan guarantees from Ukraine during his tenure as vice president. Biden at the time warned Ukraine withhold aid unless the country fired its top prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, from investigating into the natural gas firm at which Biden’s son, Hunter, worked and served as a board member.
Biden only wanted Ukraine to get rid of Shokin, Trump contends, because he was investigating Burisma Holdings, the gas firm that employed Hunter.
The Trump campaign has spent $8 million to run the ad, while the Republican National Committee has spent $2 million.
The video disseminates “objectively false information to influence public opinion, poisons the public discourse and chips away at our democracy,” Biden campaign spokesman TJ Ducklo told CNN on Tuesday. “It is unacceptable for any social media company to knowingly allow deliberately misleading material to corrupt its platform.”
“Whether it originates from the Kremlin or Trump Tower, these lies and conspiracy theories threaten to undermine the integrity of our elections in America,” Ducklo added.
The Trump campaign has also posted the ad on Twitter and YouTube and it has aired on Fox News and MSNBC, in addition to reportedly been viewed more than 5 million times on Facebook, The New York Times reports.
CNN, however, refused to run the ad, arguing it makes false accusations and “makes assertions that have been proven demonstrably false by various news outlets.”
Trump 2020 campaign’s communications director, Tim Murtaugh, blasted CNN for refusing to run the ad.
CNN “spends all day protecting Joe Biden in their programming,” Murtaugh told the Daily Beast. “[I]t’s not surprising that they’re shielding him from truthful advertising too, and then talking to other media outlets about it.”
“Our ad is entirely accurate and was reviewed by counsel, and CNN wouldn’t even describe to us what they found objectionable. This isn’t a cable news channel anymore, it’s a Democrat public relations firm,” he added.
While Trump calls attention to Biden’s corrupt business dealings in Ukraine, the former vice president and 2020 presidential hopeful called on Trump to be impeached on Wednesday.
“With his words and his actions, President Trump has indicted himself by obstructing justice, refusing to comply with the congressional inquiry. He’s also convicted himself in full view of the world and the American people, Donald Trump has violated his oath of office, betrayed this nation and committed impeachable acts,” Biden said.
“You know to preserve our constitution, our democracy, our basic integrity. He should be impeached. That’s not only because of what he’s done. To answer whether he’s committed acts sufficient to warrant impeachment is obvious. We see it in Trump’s own words,” he continued. “We see it in the texts from state department officials that have been made public. We see it in his pulling much of the United States government into his corrupt schemes, individuals within the government, his appointees. But we have to remember that impeachment isn’t only about what the president’s done.”
Biden joins House Democrats in demanding Trump be impeached after it was revealed the president asked the Ukrainian head of state, President Volodymyr Zelensky, to look into Biden and his son Hunter over Hunter’s role as a board member of Burisma Holdings.