Get SF Weekly Newsletters

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Who's Behind the "Don't Run Ed" Facebook Ads?

Posted By on Tue, Jul 26, 2011 at 2:25 PM

Mayor Ed Lee has not yet declared his candidacy, and already the countercampaigns have begun.

Jim Stearns, political consultant for state Senator Leland Yee's mayoral campaign, made a YouTube video, "Promise," which highlights Lee's previous remarks that he would not be running for mayor in November. Stearns tweeted about the video last Thursday, saying, "If I were to make a video about Run Ed Run, it might look something like this."

Today, an "Ed Don't Run" ad turned up on Facebook, which also reminds voters of Lee's promise not to run. Coming so soon after the video, some assumed that Stearns/Yee was behind it, but Stearns was quick to debunk this theory via Twitter, "I can tell you definitively that we are not buying fb ads of any kind."

There's no way of knowing who's behind the ad since Facebook was granted an exemption by the Federal Election Commission so that political ads on the site do not need to include the sponsor's name. In theory, the link beneath the image should lead you to the sponsor, but in this case, the ad links to the mayor's website.

Somehow, we seriously doubt it's Lee himself.

So what should we make of all this? As Facebook becomes a more and more popular platform for political candidates, we can expect to see a proliferation of these anonymous ads, which are not transparent -- but, even worse, can lead to unfair assumptions about who is behind them.

"One of the biggest problems we have in our campaigns is it's increasingly difficult --  or even impossible -- to track where the money's coming from," says USF politics professor Corey Cook. "It's not so much that these groups are being unethical, but voters want to know where the money's coming from, and they can't hold candidates accountable."

So, whodunnit? We have no idea, and it's unlikely that anyone will ever know.

Follow us on Twitter at @TheSnitchSF and @SFWeekly. 

  • Pin It

Tags: , , , , , , ,

About The Author

Caroline Chen

Suggested Reading


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Like us on Facebook


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"