Facebook say influencer memes are not political ads

Michael Bloomberg Is Paying Instagram Influencers To Post Dank Memes To Convince America’s Youth He’d Be A Dope President, Yo

"After hearing from multiple campaigns, we agree that there's a place for branded content in political discussion on our platforms", a Facebook spokesman said in a statement.

Instagram is also clarifying how fact-checking will work for political sponsored content, since political ads are now exempt.

The company clarified that it prohibits political entities themselves from running branded content by default, as its policies covering branded content apply to all forms of monetization on its platform and not just ads. Some Twitter users posted parody memes of the Bloomberg direct messages, taking aim at hisracist policing policiesduring his time as mayor and his unbridled ad spending in the Democratic primary.

A post by @fuckjerry, an account with nearly 15 million followers, shows an exchange where Bloomberg is shown asking, "Can you post a meme that lets everyone know I'm the cool candidate?" In one of the DMs, for example, Bloomberg says he has learned how to use Photoshop before sharing a photo of Bernie Sanders that has been a wellspring of memes recently. "I'm a war hero", that would be in the politician's voice and ineligible for fact-checking.

Facebook has increasingly come under fire for its ad practices throughout the previous year and in September said it would not censor false claims that appear in paid political ads under the exemption of 'newsworthiness'.

Back to the memes, Instagram explains to TechCrunch that branded content is different from advertising because Facebook doesn't receive any payment and it can't be targeted.

The posts - which disclosed sponsorship by Bloomberg's campaign - won't have to be archived in Facebook's ad database unless the influencer pays to promote the post itself. Facebook provides tools to enable our publishers, creators and advertisers to make these disclosures, where required'.

Michael Bloomberg
Donald Trump Called A ‘Carnival Barking Clown’ By Michael Bloomberg & Memes Go Viral

In his meme campaign, Bloomberg exploited a loophole to skirt numerous rules that tech companies have imposed on political ads to safeguard American elections from malicious foreign and domestic interference and misinformation.

The campaign is using Tribe, a "branded content marketplace" that allows brands to reach "micro-influencers" with 1,000 to 100,000 Instagram followers. That's because Instagram and Facebook don't get paid for these sponsorship deals between campaigns and influencers. Bloomberg responded by asking where to send the money.

The Bloomberg campaign declined to say how much it paid for the sponsored posts, or if it had more of them in the works.

In one post, Bloomberg appears to ask the account to post a meme to let everyone know he is "the cool candidate" - along with a picture of him in oversized shorts, a Polo-style shirt and a rust-colored vest.

Part of the campaign's initial success came because users weren't fully sure if the influencers' posts were jokes or ads, even if they were disclosed with #ad or "yes this is really sponsored by @MikeBloomberg".

Bloomberg has already spent between $250 million and $300 million of his own money on television, radio and social media advertisements, according to media reports.

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