Meanwhile, since 2000, the Republican National Committee has sent out “Congressional District Census” mailers that request fundraising dollars in addition to asking partisan questions, around the same time as the official US census forms are sent. (Notably, Trump’s campaign site also calls its form a “Congressional District Census.”) The Democratic party has repeatedly complained about the mailers and pointed to people who reported being confused about the surveys. But so far, they’ve avoided any penalty because they skirt the existing regulations on deceptive mail practices.
Back in 2010, New York Rep. Carolyn Maloney introduced successful legislation to make it illegal for look-alike census communications to use the word “census.” The law was a response to census-style mailings from the RNC a decade ago, and some politicians have called for it to be updated.
But aside from US law, Facebook already has its own established rules to deal with this kind of content. Now, with these new Trump ads, it’s coming down to a question of how the company is going to actually enforce those rules.