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Photos: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images, Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

Top Republicans are privately worried about a new threat to President Trump’s campaign: the possibility of Facebook pulling a Twitter and banning political ads. 

Why it matters: Facebook says it won't, but future regulatory pressure could change that. If Facebook were to ban — or even limit — ads, it could upend Trump’s fundraising and re-election plan, GOP officials tell Axios.

  • Trump relies heavily — much more so than Democrats — on targeted Facebook ads to shape views and raise money.

Red flag: Kara Swisher, of Recode, the super plugged-in tech writer, predicted on CNBC's "Squawk Box" that Mark Zuckerberg will ultimately buckle on allowing demonstrably false political adds on Facebook: "He's going to change his mind — 100% ... [H]e's done it before."

  • Twitter this week announced a ban on political and advocacy ads. ("Platforms give pols a free pass to lie," by Scott Rosenberg)
  • Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale ridiculed the decision ("yet another attempt by the left to silence Trump and conservatives"), signaling the wicked backlash that would hit Zuckerberg.

Why it would hurt Trump: His campaign has mastered the art of using Facebook’s precision-targeting of people to raise money, stir opposition to impeachment, move voters and even sell Trump shirts and hats.

  • The Trump campaign often uses highly emotional appeals to get clicks and engagement, which provides valuable data on would-be voters and small-dollar donors.

Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh told Axios: "We’ve always known that President Trump was too successful online and that Democrats would one day seek to wipe him off the Internet."

  • "That’s why we’ve invested so heavily in building up our data to allow us to communicate with millions of voters away from any third-party platforms like Facebook."
  • "Democrats demanding internet platforms shut down political advertising will guarantee Trump’s victory in 2020. They’re idiots."

By the numbers: The Trump campaign has spent $15.7 million dollars on Facebook ads this year, according to data from progressive advertising firm Bully Pulpit Interactive.

  • The next closest Democratic spender is billionaire Tom Steyer, who has so far spent less than half of that.
  • Those numbers don't include millions of dollars of additional Facebook ad spending from outside groups. The conservative non-profit Judicial Watch, for example, has spent $2.5 million on issue ads since the beginning of the year.

Go deeper:

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Go deeper

Updated 25 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Transplants rebound from COVID lull
  2. Vaccines: WHO: No evidence that healthy children, teens need boosters — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America
  3. Politics: Government website for free COVID tests launches early
  4. World: Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older
  5. Variant tracker
26 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Schumer pushes for doomed filibuster changes

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer addressed reporters on Tuesday. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer told the Democratic caucus Tuesday night he plans to propose instituting a one-time "talking" filibuster requirement, and bypassing the 60-vote threshold for major legislation, to pass the party's election reforms package via simple majority.

Why it matters: While Schumer acknowledged both votes are expected to fail — and some vulnerable Democrats up for reelection feel it will put them in a tough spot — he argued it's worth putting members on the record for historic legislation.

Jan. 6 committee subpoenas Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell

Rudy Giuliani. Photo: Jeff Kowalsky/AFP via Getty Images

The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot released its latest round of subpoenas on Tuesday evening, this time focusing on several of former President Trump's lawyers, including Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell, and former adviser Boris Epshteyn.

Why it matters: The panel said the four individuals subpoenaed were involved in efforts publicly promote Trump's unfounded claims of election fraud as well as efforts to "disrupt or delay" the certification of the election's results.

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