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Trump campaign blitzes Facebook with ads attacking impeachment inquiry

CNN logo CNN 11/18/2019 By Donie O'Sullivan, CNN
a person standing in front of a window: SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 30: The Facebook logo is displayed during the F8 Facebook Developers conference on April 30, 2019 in San Jose, California. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg delivered the opening keynote to the FB Developer conference that runs through May 1. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) © Justin Sullivan/Getty Images SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 30: The Facebook logo is displayed during the F8 Facebook Developers conference on April 30, 2019 in San Jose, California. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg delivered the opening keynote to the FB Developer conference that runs through May 1. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump's reelection campaign ran more than 6,000 Facebook ads mentioning impeachment during the first week of public hearings in the inquiry, according to an analysis of ad data.

The ads -- which could have cost up to $1 million -- highlight the unique role social media is playing in America's first impeachment hearings in the age of viral politics.

The campaign ran 6,286 ads mentioning impeachment from November 11 to Sunday, according to data analyzed by Laura Edelson, a researcher at New York University's Tandon School of Engineering. According to Edelson, the buy cost between $300,000 and $1 million.

Many of the ads dub the hearings the "impeachment hoax."

On Monday, as the second week of public hearings was set to begin, the Trump campaign launched ads seeking donations, some of which read, "The Impeachment Hearings today are a TOTAL SCAM! Let's raise $3 MILLION in 24 HRS to send a message!!" The ads included pictures of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, both California Democrats.

The Trump campaign is the biggest ad-buyer on Facebook among the 2020 presidential contenders, spending more than $15 million on the platform since January.

The biggest Democratic spender is Tom Steyer, who has dropped almost $12 million on Facebook ads since January. The Steyer campaign spent up to $164,000 on ads mentioning impeachment last week.

Other candidates trail far behind Trump and Steyer in Facebook ad spending -- South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Peter Buttgieg has spent $5.5 million since January, followed by Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts at $4.4 million and Bernie Sanders of Vermont with $4.3 million.

Donald Trump in a suit standing in front of a crowd: President Donald Trump arrives to speak at a campaign rally at the CenturyLink Center, Thursday, November 14, in Bossier City, Louisiana. © Evan Vucci/AP President Donald Trump arrives to speak at a campaign rally at the CenturyLink Center, Thursday, November 14, in Bossier City, Louisiana.
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