Facebook to Allow Paid Political Messages That Aren't Ads

Trump, Bloomberg wage social media war in battle of New York billionaires

The Bloomberg posts weren't much more than self-deprecating humor used to sell the candidate's old guy appeal, using a tactic that until now was largely used to sell skin care products or clothing-subscription services.

Most people haven't responded enthusiastically to the ads, even if they're properly disclosed. Online political ads have been controversial, especially after it was revealed Russian Federation used them in an attempt to influence the 2016 presidential election.

Facebook's political ad policies have been under scrutiny in the run up to the US presidential election in November, with the company's decision to exempt politicians' ads from fact-checking coming under fire from some regulators and lawmakers.

Facebook on Friday said that type of sponsored political content is OK - clarifying that users must label it accordingly.

While there's something to be said about how effectively President Trump uses Twitter and other social media platforms to engage his base, it's hard to say if Bloomberg's memes will energize young voters the same way.

It's not yet clear if Facebook's sudden policy change will close all the loopholes, though the company says the issue represents a new territory and its approach could change over time.

Google says it doesn't allow political messages using its main tools for connecting with influencers, but campaigns can make individual arrangements with YouTube influencers.

On Wednesday, Bloomberg unleashed a flood of posts on Instagram in a partnership with some of the most-followed accounts in a series of freakish memes.

Earlier this week, it was revealed that Mr Bloomberg had been paying influencers to post memes about him on Instagram. Bloomberg wrote in one of the exchanges posted by an Instagram account with almost 15 million followers.

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.

F (asterisk)(asterisk)(asterisk) Jerry's account then replied, "Ooof that will cost like a billion dollars".

"WOW, BLOOMBERG IS A TOTAL RACIST", Trump said in a now deleted tweet, which helped to send the inflammatory clip trending on social media, despite Bloomberg's previous efforts to bury it, asking the Aspen Institute not to distribute video of the speech.

"We haven't done a political campaign before", said Reid Hailey, chief executive of Doing Things Media, which runs 12 of the meme accounts involved in the campaign, including @NeatDad and @GamersDoingThings.

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