The campaign to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom this week shared the false claim that Facebook tried to “shut down” the recall effort.
PolitiFact California reporter Chris Nichols spoke with CapRadio anchor Mike Hagerty about it in this week’s Can You Handle The Truth segment.
This interview has been edited for clarity and length.
On what the recall campaign said about Facebook’s actions
The recall campaign spread some false information through its Instagram account. It shared a blog post that said Facebook was trying to “shut down” the recall effort by not allowing it to place ads on its platform.
We found that’s just a really big distortion of what happened. In reality, Facebook announced last fall that it would stop accepting all political ads regardless of party affiliation. Its goal was to curb the spread of misinformation, so there is no evidence that the Newsom recall campaign was singled out.
“One of the new policies that we’re announcing is we’re going to block new political and issue ads in the last week of the campaign,” Zuckerberg said on CBS This Morning last September.
Facebook went on to extend that policy into December.
It then made an exception for the U.S. Senate runoffs in Georgia before resuming its ban on political ads in January.
On what political campaigns can do on Facebook if they can no longer buy ads
In the case of the recall campaign, they can do a lot of things. They have a strong presence on Facebook that includes a public group where more than 20,000 members share information about upcoming recall drives.
They have another 16,000 followers on Instagram, which is owned by Facebook.
On the claim that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi bought Tesla stock soon before Biden signed the executive order for all federal vehicles to be electric
Our national partner PolitiFact looked at an image shared on Facebook that claims Pelosi bought more than $1 million in Tesla Stock. Tesla is the electric carmaker based in California.
This claim says Pelosi made the purchase the day before President Joe Biden signed an order for all federal vehicles to be electric — it strongly implies that she was trying to profit from inside information about new government policies.
PolitiFact found a few problems with this claim. Pelosi’s husband did buy stock options in Tesla for up to $1 million, but that was back in December, and not the day Biden signed his order.
Speaker Pelosi did disclose the purchase as required by law.
PolitiFact also found that Biden’s order just asks federal agencies to move towards zero-emission vehicles — it doesn’t actually require them to purchase electric vehicles.
PolitiFact also pointed out that Biden made it clear throughout his campaign for president that he wanted the federal fleet to move in this direction, so that goal is really no secret.
“We have to move towards a net-zero emissions,” Biden said during the final presidential debate. “The first place to do that by the year 2035 is in energy production. By 2050, totally.”
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