Above the Rules?
How Back to Basics WC PAC is Breaking Online Political Advertising Transparency Rules
Back to Basics WC PAC claims that Transparency is one of their “Foundational Pillars." If that's true, why are they breaking political advertising transparency rules for their paid Facebook ads?
Facebook has very clear and specific rules for paid political advertising as part of their effort to increase ad transparency and election integrity:
A paid advertisement about any election or candidate for public office must be designated as a political/social ad,
Pages that run political/social ads must be verified by Facebook,
Political/social ads must by reviewed and must have an official Facebook-approved "paid for by" disclaimer in the ad header, and
For transparency, Facebook displays additional information about political/social ads.
When political/social ads are created using the correct process, users can see how much was spent on each political/social ad and which audiences and locations were targeted by the advertisers. This transparency data is critical, and it is ONLY available if the ad is properly designated and approved using Facebook's process for political/social advertising.
Back to Basics WC PAC is running paid political ads on Facebook that do not comply with these requirements. For a well-funded PAC run by professional political consultants who have based their candidates' campaigns on a call for transparency, this is a pretty big deal.
To highlight what’s missing, let’s compare Donald Trump’s campaign Facebook page – which is following political transparency rules correctly – to Back to Basics WC PAC:
Donald Trump’s political candidate Facebook page is verified:
Back to Basics WC PAC page is not verified:
Donald Trump’s campaign transparency information indicates that it is running political/social ads:
Back to Basics WC PAC's transparency information does not indicate that it is running political/social ads:
Donald Trump’s ads have a Facebook-approved disclaimer in the ad header:
Back to Basics WC PAC’s ads do not have a Facebook-approved disclaimer in the ad header:
Donald Trump’s Facebook ad library displays the expenditures and audience targeting data for each political ad:
Back to Basics WC PAC’s ads do not have expenditure and audience targeting data available:
Donald Trump’s Facebook ad library displays summary expenditure and audience targeting data for all ads:
Back to Basics WC PAC’s Facebook ad library does not include summary expenditure or audience targeting data:
You may be thinking, “Donald Trump is running a national campaign with lots of resources. Back to Basics WC PAC shouldn’t be expected to adhere to the same standards.”
Not true. Not only do Facebook’s political/social advertising rules apply to ALL pages regardless of size or reach, it’s actually fairly easy to follow Facebook’s process to become approved and run properly designated political/social ads.
And remember: the people running Back to Basics WC PAC aren't grassroots community members who are learning as they go. They are paid, "professional" political consultants who should know better.
Which leaves us with the question: Why isn't Back to Basics WC PAC willing or able to follow the rules? And what does that imply about how our school district would be run if its candidates were elected?
If you agree that Back to Basics WC PAC shouldn't be above the rules and that WCASD deserves #BetterThanBasic, you can report their ads to Facebook if you see them pop up in your feed:
1. Click on the 3-dot menu in the top right corner of the ad and choose “Report ad”:
2. In the “Report this ad” menu, choose “Political candidate or issue”:
3. Pat yourself on the back! You’ve done your civic duty for the day.
[NOTE: If you are wondering why Together for Public Schools doesn't have advertising disclaimers, it's because we don't have any money! That means we don't run paid ads. We are a true grassroots organization of parents and community members doing this work in our spare time with no funding. If you appreciate the work we do, please help spread our reach by telling your friends about us and asking them to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.]