Aug 7, 2019

Trump Facebook ads warning of immigrant "invasion" posted 2,200 times

President Trump speaks with reporters at the White House. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump has run approximately 2,200 Facebook advertisements warning of an "invasion" at the southern border, according to CNN analysis of the social media giant's political ad archive.

Why it matters: A study by Axios found last month that Trump is spending millions of dollars on Facebook ads, focusing on immigration as a key reelection strategy. However, his divisive rhetoric is being scrutinized amid reports that the suspected El Paso gunman spoke of an "invasion" in an online post just before the shooting massacre, CNN notes.

By the numbers: An examination of Facebook data by the Guardian shows Trump’s campaign has used the word "invasion” to describe migrants seeking entry at the southern border in 2,199 ads since January.

  • The ads were viewed 1 million to 5.5 million times by Facebook users and cost the Trump campaign between $7,900 and $241,601 to promote, according to the Guardian, which notes Facebook reports the spending and performance of ads as a range.

The big picture: The racist manifesto apparently posted by the El Paso shooting suspect posted to 8chan stresses that the opinions expressed pre-date Trump's presidency and that any attempt to blame the president for his actions would be "fake news."

  • Trump condemned racism and white supremacy Monday during an address to the nation after the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton over the weekend.


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Tucker Carlson calls white supremacy "a hoax" after El Paso shooting

Fox News host Tucker Carlson at the National Review Institute's Ideas Summit in March. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Fox News host Tucker Carlson claimed on his show "'Tucker Carlson Tonight" Tuesday that white supremacy is a "hoax" and "actually not a real problem in America."

Why it matters: A racist manifesto complaining about a "Hispanic invasion" was posted online by a writer identified as the suspected gunman before the El Paso mass shooting Saturday. Per Axios' Jim VandeHei and Sara Fischer, white-extremist active shooters in the U.S. were responsible for 65 deaths in 7 episodes in the past 18 months.

Go deeperArrowAug 7, 2019

Trump taunts Beto O'Rourke ahead of El Paso visit

Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke near the scene of last weekend's mass shooting in El Paso, Texas. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

President Trump mocked Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke's Hispanic nickname in a late-night tweet ahead of his visit to the former congressman's hometown of El Paso Wednesday to honor victims of the city's mass shooting.

Why it matters: ABC News notes that Trump's Twitter attack is in direct opposition to the conciliatory tone he struck when he condemned racism following Saturday's massacre, saying "Now is the time to set destructive partisanship aside." O'Rourke has said Trump is a "white nationalist" who encourages racism and violence in the U.S.

Go deeperArrowAug 7, 2019

Facebook sharpens political ad rules ahead of 2020

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

As political ad spending for 2020 ramps up, Facebook is tightening its rules to make sure that groups running political or issue ads are legitimate and aren't gaming the system.

Why it matters: With some high-profile examples of such evasion already emerging, the changes will make it harder for groups to dodge Facebook's political advertising review program.

Go deeperArrowAug 28, 2019