A conservative political action committee on Wednesday blasted Facebook for removing an ad criticizing Democrats, including former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, for supporting legislation requiring schools to allow biologically male transgender athletes to compete against girls.
Terry Schilling, president of the American Principles Project PAC, slammed the decision to pull the ad as “just the latest example in a frightening trend of Big Tech censorship,” saying that Facebook did not challenge the ad’s claims but rather its “missing context.”
“[G]iven the way this has been handled, we are highly concerned that Facebook is simply using the ‘missing context’ label as an arbitrary means to remove speech it disagrees with,” said Mr. Schilling. “After all, just about any political ad could be found to be ‘missing context.’ It is simply impossible to provide all possible context on every issue in any media, never mind in a 30-second spot.”
The ad, titled “Not Fair,” shows teenage girls being passed up by a boy as they run in a track meet, saying, “All female athletes want is a fair shot at competition, at a scholarship, at a title, at victory.”
“But what if that shot was taken away by a competitor who claims to be a girl but was born a boy?” says the narrator.
Mr. Biden and Sen. Gary Peters, Michigan Democrat, support “legislation that would destroy girls’ sports. They call it equality. Really? That’s not fair,” the ad says.
Mr. Peters, who is seeking reelection, is a co-sponsor of the Equality Act, which would prohibit K-12 and college athletic programs from discriminating against transgender students by removing restrictions on allowing biological males to compete as females.
Facebook spokesperson Andy Stone said that the ad was evaluated “by an independent, third-party fact-checking partner of Facebook’s,” referring to PolitiFact, which concluded that the ad’s claim that the bill would “destroy girls’ sports” could not be proven nor disproven.
“Their specific criticism is that allowing transgender girls and women to compete on the basis of their gender identity would create an uneven playing field for student [athletes] and ultimately end girls’ and women’s sports,” said PolitiFact in its Tuesday analysis. “That’s a prediction we can’t fact-check.”
Peters press secretary C.J. Warnke called the ad “a blatant attempt to mislead voters and distort the truth about the Equality Act.”
Mr. Stone pointed to Facebook’s policy on “missing context,” which is one basis for removing an ad.
“When content is assessed by a fact-checker to be missing context (or false, partly false or altered) … it cannot be run as an ad,” Mr. Stone said in an email.
Mr. Schilling emphasized that the ad has not been found to be inaccurate.
“It would be understandable, though still very troubling, if Facebook removed an ad for being ‘fact-checked’ as false,” said Mr. Schilling. “However, our ad has not been found false by any fact-checker, nor could it be.”