Oops. Facebook, under pressure from US Senator Elizabeth Warren for its vast power over information, removed ads supporting Warren’s controversial plan to break up Big Tech.
The ads, posted by Warren’s presidential campaign, called for the breakup of Facebook, Amazon and Google — saying the three tech giants have “bulldozed competition, used our private information for profit and tilted the playing field in their favor.” The ad removals were first reported by Politico.
In a statement Monday, a Facebook spokesperson said the company originally removed the ads because of a policy violation against using Facebook’s logo, but it was restoring them.
He pointed to a company policy that bans modified Facebook brand assets. The Warren ad includes a Facebook “f” surrounded by a comic-book dialog bubble, as well as icons to represent Amazon and Google. Facebook enforces its ad polices with a mixture of automated systems and human moderators.
“In the interest of allowing robust debate, we are restoring the ads,” the spokesperson said.
Other Warren campaign ads on the platform calling for the breakup of Facebook and other big tech companies — but that did not include a modified Facebook logo — appear to be unaffected.
Political ads have been a sore spot for Facebook since the 2016 election, when Russian trolls with links to the Kremlin bought ads targeting Americans in the run-up to the presidential election. They were able to do so without giving any information to Americans seeing those ads about who was paying for them.
On Monday evening, Warren cited the ad removals as evidence that the company has too much power.
“Thanks for restoring my posts,” she tweeted. “But I want a social media marketplace that isn’t dominated by a single censor.”