Chinese-State Made Puts Out Facebook Ads Scapegoating President Trump for the Wuhan Virus
According to a report from Breitbart, Chinese state media has swamped Facebook and Instagram with political ads blaming President Donald Trump for the Wuhan Virus.
Facebook claimed in a statement that this was an “error” and that the ads were not labeled as political and is subsequently correcting them.
According to a report from the Telegraph, the Chinese state media has been publishing undisclosed political ads to Facebook and Instagram as part of an effort to downplay China’s role in the Wuhan Virus pandemic and attack President Donald Trump. Three prominent Chinese state media outlets, Xinhua, China Central Television, and the Global Times, have launched targeted ads directed towards users globally in English, Chinese, and Arabic.
The ads have reportedly been viewed by millions of users and praise China’s efforts to fight the Wuhan Virus while whitewashing the country’s domestic outbreak. The articles depict President Trump as misguided and racist and even hint at the virus originating in the United States. “[China] has taken stringent and forceful measures, and turned the tide on coronavirus,” one ad stated. Another asserted: “Trump’s disruption to China has severe consequences.”
All of the ads went live without a political disclaimer, thus allowing them to cover up information about who the ads were targeting and where they were coming from. Several of the articles gave a particular focus on President Trump’s use of the term “Chinese virus” to describe the Wuhan Virus. Other ads covered statements coming from Chinese president Xi Jinping.
The Telegraph contacted Facebook about the ads. The social media network responded by saying that it was an error that the ads were not classified as political. Since this dialogue, Facebook has corrected the issue. A spokesperson also noted that a large number of the ads are being run in countries where Facebook does not mandate disclosure, thus making it hard to figure out the degree of propaganda perhaps went unnoticed on the site.
The Facebook spokesperson informed the Telegraph that it opted to label media outlets rather than banning them because it prefers increased transparency. The spokesperson called attention to how all Facebook’s services must abide by local laws and that those who break its policies can face temporary bans.
Social media will soon have to make a choice about how it deals with China.
If social media outlets truly cared about free speech, they would completely disassociate with the Chinese market.