WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — A campaign ad to re-elect the president is at the center of a controversy because it misled many people into thinking it was an advertisement for the 2020 census.
It looks like it’s from the U.S. Census, it even came postmarked “DO NOT DESTROY, OFFICIAL DOCUMENT.”
But this is actually a campaign mailer sent out by the Republican National Committee.
“It is an absolute lie,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said.
Speaker Pelosi denounced the mailer and a similar RNC Facebook ad.
The ad labeled “Official 2020 Congressional District Census” redirected users to a campaign ad for President Trump.
Pelosi was critical of Facebook Thursday for initially refusing to remove the ads.
“Now they’re messing with who we are as Americans. I know the profit motive is their business model, but it should not come at the cost of counting who is in our country,” Pelosi said.
After initially saying the ads didn’t violate policy, late Thursday evening Facebook reversed course and pulled the ad for violating policies they say are designed to prevent confusion about the Census.
“These advertisers are going to push boundaries, whether it’s for politics or products,” explained Carl Szabo with the tech trade association NetChoice.
He says on platforms like Facebook paid advertisements are generally held to a higher standard of truth and transparency than regular posts.
“Whether it’s on TV, a newspaper, online that was misleading and led us to something that we didn’t expect, we’d expect that advertisement to be removed,” Szabo said.
The misleading ads come while the U.S. Census is in the middle of a campaign to combat misinformation about the 2020 survey.
The RNC hasn’t responded to our requests for comment.