News, Culture & Society

Facebook ran ads claiming Brexit threatened animals amid fresh claims it is ‘pumping out fake news’


Buying or leasing a car in the UK? Check MOT of car before you do.

Facebook is accused of ‘pumping out fake news’ after running advertisements suggesting Brexit was a threat to endangered animals

  • Facebook ran adverts claiming orangutans were threatened by Brexit
  • Two prominent pro-Remain campaign groups paid the US firm to run the ads
  • The advert claimed they are in danger from Britain’s ‘plans to reverse’ an EU pledge to ban palm oil

Facebook was accused of ‘pumping out fake news’ yesterday after the social media site ran adverts claiming animals were threatened by Brexit.

Two prominent pro-Remain campaign groups paid the US firm hundreds of thousands of pounds to run the ads intended to raise support for a second referendum.

Data from the social media site shows that People’s Vote UK and Best for Britain spent £373,587 in the run-up to last week’s vote on Theresa May’s Brexit plan, according to the Daily Telegraph. Leave-backing groups spent £93,000.

Two prominent pro-Remain campaign groups paid the US firm hundreds of thousands of pounds to run the ads intended to raise support for a second referendum [File photo] 

Facebook reveals who is buying political adverts on the site but groups do not have to reveal how the campaigns are financed.

The social media site is already being investigated over allegations that its service has been used to influence elections.

Best for Britain’s adverts targeted under-35s and featured orangutans, with the ad claiming they are in danger from Britain’s ‘plans to reverse’ an EU pledge to ban palm oil. 

‘Every day 25 orangutans are killed by palm oil deforestation,’ reads the caption. It asks: ‘Help us stop this. Sign our petition.’

Since November the series of ads featuring the apes has been posted 32 times racking up 32million views.

The pro-Remain group also posted stark warnings about the fates of bluefin tuna and sea turtles if Britain abandoned EU policy on plastics and big-game fishing. 

Former Brexit minister David Jones accused Facebook of peddling fake news. He said: ‘Facebook ought to be a bit more careful about the adverts they carry.’

Facebook reveals who is buying political adverts on the site but groups do not have to reveal how the campaigns are financed. The social media site is already being investigated over allegations that its service has been used to influence elections [File photo]

Facebook reveals who is buying political adverts on the site but groups do not have to reveal how the campaigns are financed. The social media site is already being investigated over allegations that its service has been used to influence elections [File photo]

Michael Gove, the Environment Secretary, said: ‘This is the same old scaremongering from the same people who didn’t want us to leave the EU – it didn’t work last time and won’t work this time. It’s not true that plastic straws and stirrers will be allowed after Brexit – in fact, we announced a ban before the EU and they are playing catch-up. It’s not true that the EU is planning to ban palm oil – in fact, the UK already goes further than the EU.’

All political adverts on Facebook are now marked as sponsored and clearly state who has paid for the posts.

In the three months since October, Facebook has been paid more than £1million for political adverts. Government, political parties and campaign groups have all used Facebook to spread their message on Brexit and other issues,

Britain’s Future, run by scriptwriter Tim Dawson, 31, is the biggest spender backing the Leave campaign. The group is not registered with Companies House but has spent £88,385 on Facebook in the past few months. It is not clear where the cash came from to fund Mr Dawson’s campaign.

He said: ‘We seem to have hit a point where Brexiteers are not expected to campaign at all. We have spent a fraction of the Remain establishment.’  

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


Comments are closed.