Facebook Wades into UK Politics and Bans an Advert for Small Print Reasons

By Gary Cutlack on at

Something that people who know about politics think is important has happened, as social network Facebook – which usually says politics is beyond its comprehension or ability to police – has banned a political ad from being shown to tired and irritable UK-facing eyeballs.

The advert was published on behalf of the Fair Tax Campaign, and made the claim that UK citizens would pay more tax under a future regime ruled over by Jeremy Corbyn. £214 a month was the headline number, which was sort of hidden from advanced scrutiny by being phrased as a question asking: "...could you afford an extra £214 each month?" should Labour win the forthcoming general election.

Facebook wasn't policing the facts of the ad, though. We have to imagine if they're true or not or ask someone clever who knows about such matters. What Facebook objected to – but only once the BBC wrote about it and threatened to unleash a whirlwind of negativity – was that the terms of the advert did not reveal who funded it. That's the small print that got the network off the hook for allowing such a spurious claim to be published on its network and led to its removal.

The BBC says the ad was in fact funded by one of Boris Johnson's old chums who worked in Downing Street until recently, which is staggeringly unsurprising and what everyone surely thought anyway. Who else would have enough meaningless hereditary money and the inclination to throw cash away on political Facebook ads? The Fair Tax Campaign can re-run the advert, if it adds the correct funding disclaimer. [BBC]