There are a ton of things that can get political ads removed from Facebook. Outright lying isn't one of them, however.
A new report from BuzzFeed News found that over 150 ads had been removed for employing fake button graphics, leading to bad landing pages or containing profanity.
"Facebook has removed more than 160 ads posted this month by President Donald Trump and some Democratic candidates, including Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, former vice president Joe Biden, and businessperson Tom Steyer," they shared.
Facebook explained that the hundreds of pulled ads weren't judged on their claims, merely the way in which they were presented.
“None of these political ads were rejected on the basis of being deemed false by our fact-checkers,” a Facebook spokesperson said in the report. “They were removed for violating one or more of Facebook's other advertising policies, such as our policy against using fake buttons in ads.”
Only Biden's campaign responded to the news organization's request for comment.
"Evidently Facebook views our graphic design choices as a greater threat to American democracy than Donald Trump's obscene lies," Biden spokesperson TJ Ducklo said. "They gladly profit off of these proven falsehoods, no matter the cost to our national discourse."
BuzzFeed reporters felt that the standards were being applied in a seemingly haphazard way. They noted that several ads that were in violation of Facebook's policies remained up. They note that many of the ads in question were taken down after they asked about why they were allowed to remain on the website.
While Facebook has put measures in place to combat the spread of fake news following the 2016 election, their fact-checking apparatus doesn't extend into political advertising. This decision came under fire after a Donald Trump ad lied about presidential candidate Joe Biden, claiming he threatened authorities in Ukraine to avert an investigation into his son.
“Our job is to make sure the court is ready — the surface is flat, the lines painted, the net at the correct height,” Facebook VP of Global Affairs Nick Clegg explained in a speech in September. “But we don’t pick up a racket and start playing. How the players play the game is up to them, not us.”