In the past year leading up to the midterm elections, political ads on social media have been critical. No one understands this more than the Democrats.
Between May 7 to October 16, according to the Atlantic, Facebook political spending was topped by Beto O’Rourke, the challenger to Senator Ted Cruz in Texas. But immediately after, a company called News for Democracy purchased 16 million impressions for 14 Facebook pages. The pages included “Women for Civility,” “Better with Age,” “Our Flag Our Country,” and “The Holy Tribune.”
Some of the content on these pages are considerably radical. On the “Women for Civility” page, one post urges St. Lawrence University to revoke Senator Susan Collins’ honorary degree. Another post reads, “If you want to save the planet, put down your burger. Or rather, finish it, savoring every single bite, and mentally prepare yourself not to have another until at least next week.”
The page “Better with Age” posts quoted tweets from Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, while “Our Flag Our Country” posted that “No Republican woman has ever served on the Senate Judiciary Committee.” “The Holy Tribune” wrote, “Many women have chosen to support O’Rourke instead of Ted Cruz.”
The promoted ads, according to the Atlantic, were minute long videos. “Their message is the same: Republicans want to take away protections for people with pre-existing medical conditions, and that would hurt the nice, relatable people in the videos,” said Alexis Madrigal. For some odd reason, all four of these pages were delighted when Sears declared bankruptcy.
According to the Daily Beast’s Lachlan Markay, News for Democracy is run by MotiveAI, founded by Dan Fletcher. Fletcher told Madrigal that his company is “trying to reach people who don’t trust mainstream media and who find themselves awash in deceptive sources.”