Facebook Demands Driver's License, Social Security Number to Run Ad for Obama Expose Book
Matt Margolis is a best-selling author and contributor to PJ Media. The last time he tried to advertise his latest book, The Scandalous Presidency of Barack Obama, on Facebook they banned him for a week for "spamming." Facebook never explained how paying for advertising and then distributing that ad in conservative groups is "spamming." Now Facebook is doing it to him again. This time Margolis attempted to buy an ad for the re-released and updated version of his first smash hit, The Worst President in History; The Legacy of Barack Obama. After filling out the appropriate form, Margolis received this response from Facebook: "Your ad was not approved because your Page has not been authorized to run ads with political content. What to do: Complete the authorization process."
"I began the verification/authentication process because, frankly, I just wanted to get the ad up," Margolis told PJM. "But as I proceeded, I became increasingly uncomfortable with the information they were asking for, and, given their record of bias toward conservatives, I wondered what they would really do with that information." Facebook wanted his home address, both sides of his driver's license (unredacted) and his Social Security number.
PJM contacted Facebook about this situation and was sent their new policy on "political ads" which, in part, states:
Any advertiser running election-related or issue ads who is located in or targeting people in designated countries must complete the authorization process required by Facebook.This applies to any ad that:
- Is made by, on behalf of or about a current or former candidate for public office, a political party, a political action committee or advocates for the outcome of an election to public office; or
- Relates to any election, referendum or ballot initiative, including "get out the vote" or election information campaigns; or
- Relates to any national legislative issue of public importance in any place where the ad is being run; or
- Is regulated as political advertising.
That's awfully broad, but does it apply to authors of books? What's an "issue ad"? These are things that are not fully explained by Facebook. PJ Media reached out to Facebook for clarification and at first received only a reiteration of the rules above and a phone call from one of their representatives who had no information to give, but who seemed more interested in what kind of article we were running.
Later, a Facebook representative, speaking on background, told PJM that the company will delete sensitive information after verifying it. But one can’t help but remember how that turned out for Snapchat subscribers.
A representative from Facebook communicated through email that after reviewing Margolis' ad they stand by the decision that it's a "political ad" because it contains a picture of the president. Further, they explained that it's because of Russia.