Not even 24 hours after his indictment was reported, former President Donald Trump is already using his reinstated Facebook page to advertise on Meta’s platforms and fundraise off of the charges, asking supporters to “please contribute” to “DEFEND our movement from the never-ending witch hunts.” These paid ads mean that Meta is already profiting off of the disgraced former president’s attempts to publicly promote his defense.
On Thursday evening, news broke that a Manhattan grand jury had voted to indict Trump in relation to paying hush money to porn actor Stormy Daniels to cover-up an alleged extramarital affair ahead of the 2016 election. The indictment came nearly two weeks after Trump first called for his supporters to “PROTEST, TAKE OUR NATION BACK!” if he is arrested and repeatedly attacked Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg and his office in posts on Trump’s Truth Social platform and at his recent campaign rally in Waco, Texas.
Meta reinstated Trump on its platforms in February, after the social media giant decided “the risk to public safety,” which it set out as the measure for ending his ban, had “sufficiently receded” since he was first suspended for inciting violence at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021 — a flawed assessment given Trump’s history of pushing dangerous misinformation, including in past advertisements that ran on Meta’s platforms. Prior to his suspension, Trump repeatedly paid Meta to run ads containing baseless claims of voter fraud, and during his suspension, Trump’s joint fundraising committee ran ads implying that he is the “true president” and promoting rallies where he continued to spread election misinformation.
Since Trump’s reinstated Facebook page started running ads again on March 18, he has largely used Meta’s paid advertising features to fundraise, including running fundraising ads that featured his Truth Social posts.
Now, the morning after his indictment was reported, Trump’s page started running 20 ads fundraising off of the indictment, framing it for his followers as evidence of “The Radical Left” and “The Deep State” using “anything at their disposal to shut down the one political movement that puts YOU first.” The ads also claim that “this Witch Hunt will BACKFIRE MASSIVELY on Joe Biden.”
Trump ran at least one identical “sponsored” post on Truth Social, marking yet another occasion when he has shared content across the platforms.
Like many of Trump’s Facebook posts before being suspended (and the posts he continued to make on Truth Social during his suspension), the statement contained numerous allegations of supposed wrongdoing against him by Democrats and others. These new ads also use similar rhetoric.