Voters in Georgia were targeted with a blitz of anti-trans adverts before the crucial Senate run-off elections, which could shift the balance of power in the US Senate from Republican to Democrat.
There has been record-level turnout for the two crucial run-off elections, state election officials say, the first of which has been won by Democrat challenger and Baptist pastor Raphael Warnock.
Warnock beat Republican Kelly Loeffler, who was supported in her campaign by anti-trans propaganda paid for by The American Principles Project.
One of the adverts claimed that Republican incumbent Loeffler, who has sponsored bills to bar trans students from playing school sports, is “giving our daughters a fighting chance”.
“What if your daughter’s team lost a big game to a team with a biological boy?” the advertisement asks. “Would you feel like it was a fair fight?”
An accompanying message shows Loeffler holding a microphone with the text: “Stand With Kelly Loeffler Against the Radical Left.”
Loeffler, who was the wealthiest member of the US Congress before losing the high-stakes Georgia Senate run-off, has donated thousands of dollars to anti-LGBT+ and anti-abortion groups and organisations.
Loeffler submitted a bill in September that effectively rewrites a crucial civil rights law to legally erase trans youth, barring them from competing in school sports.
The American Principles Project, a right-wing lobby group that tried – and failed – to use anti-trans propaganda in key swing states ahead of November’s election, ran six adverts ahead of the 5 January ballots being cast in Georgia.
According to them, the misinformation campaign by The American Principles Project attempted to convince voters that Warnock wanted to force cisgender girls out of school sports by making them “compete against biological boys”.
Avaaz campaign director Nathan Miller said that Facebook had failed to protect voters from misinformation by running the ads, telling The Hill: “”Plain and simple, Facebook is not protecting Georgia voters from political disinformation.
“Facebook opened the floodgates for false and misleading information targeting Georgia voters when it lifted the ban on new political ads last month. Now Avaaz has found ads reaching millions of Georgians with misinformation and discriminatory content. The company is not even implementing its own policies.”