How many presidential ads Bloomberg owned of the 2.4 billion that launched in the first six weeks of 2020.
In Mike Bloomberg's world, money does all the talking. It would seem out of character for Facebook to have ethical concerns about such an affluenza-riddled approach based on how it initially handled the Cambridge Analytica controversy and the 2016 presidential campaign scandal. But in a rare instance of trying to do the right thing for once, Facebook is reportedly considering steps to increase transparency around Bloomberg's insanely well-heeded ad strategy, according to CNBC.
Poor disclosure enforcement — In specific, Facebook is worried about Bloomberg's field organizers (there are at least 500 deputy figures, per CNBC) not clearly stating that they work for — and politically proselytize on behalf of — the former mayor of New York, whose stop-and-frisk record has elicited public ire and criticism. A source close to the matter told CNBC that Facebook is looking into iterations of content transparency, including telling Facebook users if a pro-Bloomberg message was made by a paid staffer.
Bloomberg's stinking rich campaign — The company will have to figure out an effective approach soon as Bloomberg's ad budget and strategy is clearly overwhelming the platform. According to Facebook's open Ad Library, Bloomberg has spent at least $48.5 million on various ads on the network. His ad campaign, which The Guardian says makes up 69 percent of presidential ads in 2020, overshadows all his opponents right now. In fact, Bloomberg's campaign ads make Donald Trump's impressions look ineffectual at a meager 12 percent.
And while Facebook insists that it encourages presidential candidates to be upfront about their paid staffers and other financed strategies, it strangely lacks a policy to enforce such disclosures.
No more obfuscation — "We think it’s important that political campaigns have the guidance and tools to be transparent," a company spokesperson told CNBC. "That’s why we recommend campaign employees make the relationship clear on their accounts. We welcome clearer guidance from regulators in this area." They're hinting at the Federal Election Commission.
Hopefully this "guidance" promptly arrives as Facebook's feeble approach combined with Bloomberg's unfettered opulence may worsen an understandable worry many Americans have: if you can buy millions of Facebook users' feeds, what stops you from buying the American presidency?