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Newsmax’s $25K Trump Facebook Ad Boosted Fossella’s Staten Island Borough President Bid



Ex-Rep. Vito Fossella’s last-minute, game-changing endorsement from former President Donald Trump in the Staten Island borough president GOP primary got a paid, targeted Facebook boost from an unexpected source: conservative cable news outlet Newsmax.

Like many other news organizations, Newsmax Media Inc. regularly spends money to promote its stories on the social media platform.

But Newsmax’s $25,000 expenditure for its piece touting the Trump endorsement in the local race stood out, given that it was the only of the cable outfit’s 54 ad buys last month that targeted a single state — New York — leading up to the city’s June 22 primary election.

Newsmax’s paid promotion for its story about Fossella, a former City Council and Congress member who once hosted a political reality show on the channel, doesn’t need to be reported to the city Campaign Finance Board, an agency spokesperson said.

“It’s such a big loophole to drive through,” said Richard Flanagan, a professor of political science at CUNY’s College of Staten Island. “But it sure is funny business, that’s for sure.”

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Fossella, who has largely stayed out of the public spotlight over the past decade, stunned the Staten Island GOP on Tuesday when absentee ballots gave him a slim 290-vote lead over Councilmember Steven Matteo, who quickly conceded.

The upset came after Fossella’s low-key campaign blew past several of the city’s Campaign Finance Board deadlines to detail spending.

Fossella, who apparently benefited from an 11th-hour Trump robocall, has only reported spending $113 for processing credit card fees, despite raising tens of thousands of dollars since launching his campaign in mid-March.

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Newsmax’s Facebook spending can be found on the platform’s ad library in the “Issues, Elections or Politics” category.

The June 20 story — headlined “Trump Endorses Fossella for Staten Island Borough President Job” — highlighted the oddity of the former president getting involved in a local race and noted that “Matteo has criticized Trump in the past.”

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The article also pointed out that ex-Borough President Jim Molinaro, a local GOP luminary, endorsed Fossella, too.

A Big Impression

The promoted news story’s ad package garnered at least 350,000 impressions in the final days before the election and was mostly shown to people 35 and over who live in New York. Meanwhile, Fossella’s campaign hasn’t reported paying for any social media advertising.

Newsmax has spent $4.26 million on some 3,600 digital ads promoting its stories on Facebook since May 2018, according to the platform’s ad library.

Still, the Fossella ad buy was higher than average for Newsmax: The media company spent $176,970 from June 19 to June 25, according to figures from Facebook’s ad library. That makes an average purchase for a package of ads about $17,700. The average spending for June 24 to June 30 was $15,700.

Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy hitched his star to Trump’s presidency and has provided a platform for the former chief executive, who has been banned from Facebook and Twitter.

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The seven-year-old cable news network interviewed Fossella on-air several times last month and ran a story about former Mayor Rudy Giuliani endorsing him. The network also reported on Fossella blasting Mayor Bill de Blasio over crime.

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Fossella posted the Newsmax story on his campaign’s Facebook page, but didn’t pay to promote it with paid ads. Meanwhile, even a GOP City Council candidate running in the borough, Marine veteran Marko Kepi, tried to capitalize on the Trump news by buying Facebook ads that showed he supported the ex-president’s preferred candidate.

“You know with Trump, the bat signal goes up and everyone comes running on the Republican side,” said Flanagan, author of “Staten Island: Conservative Bastion in a Liberal City.”

“It’s really remarkable how quickly it all came down,” he added.

Fossella’s campaign didn’t return calls requesting comment. Neither did Newsmax’s public relations team.

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A Second Family

Fossella, who was initially elected to the Council in the early 1990s, skipped running for a seventh term in the U.S. House of Representatives after a 2008 DUI arrest in Virginia led to the revelation that he had a second family in the Beltway.

He has since apparently reconciled with his wife on Staten Island.

As THE CITY reported last month, Fossella has variously worked in recent years for a bill-collecting firm and as a registered foreign agent representing the governments of Taiwan, Somalia and Morocco, as well as a group of Polish weapons manufacturers.

Fossella’s campaign has apparently put up signs across the southern and Mid-Island areas of the borough — including a billboard near the Outerbridge Crossing — without reporting it to the Campaign Finance Board.

But Matt Sollars, a CFB spokesperson, noted that Newsmax’s Facebook spending didn’t fall under the board’s purview. “Our rules protect the rights of organizations that produce news stories or commentary and do not cover expenditures to publish or promote their work,” he said.

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Fossella was in a three-way race with Matteo and former GOP chair Leticia Remauro for the Republican nod. The nominee will now likely face presumed Democratic primary winner Mark Murphy, the son of former longtime Staten Island Rep. John Murphy.

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The winner of the November election will replace term-limited Borough President James Oddo, a Republican and former boss of Matteo. The GOP has held the borough presidency in Staten Island for the last three decades.

Meanwhile, Trump still seems to be engaged in the local race.

“Vito will be representing the greatest people on Earth, and he will never let you down,” Trump said in a statement on Tuesday. “I love Staten Island!”

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Introducing Facebook Graph API v18.0 and Marketing API v18.0





Today, we are releasing Facebook Graph API v18.0 and Marketing API v18.0. As part of this release, we are highlighting changes below that we believe are relevant to parts of our developer community. These changes include announcements, product updates, and notifications on deprecations that we believe are relevant to your application(s)’ integration with our platform.

For a complete list of all changes and their details, please visit our changelog.

General Updates

Consolidation of Audience Location Status Options for Location Targeting

As previously announced in May 2023, we have consolidated Audience Location Status to our current default option of “People living in or recently in this location” when choosing the type of audience to reach within their Location Targeting selections. This update reflects a consolidation of other previously available options and removal of our “People traveling in this location” option.

We are making this change as part of our ongoing efforts to deliver more value to businesses, simplify our ads system, and streamline our targeting options in order to increase performance efficiency and remove options that have low usage.

This update will apply to new or duplicated campaigns. Existing campaigns created prior to launch will not be entered in this new experience unless they are in draft mode or duplicated.

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Add “add_security_recommendation” and “code_expiration_minutes” to WA Message Templates API

Earlier this year, we released WhatsApp’s authentication solution which enabled creating and sending authentication templates with native buttons and preset authentication messages. With the release of Graph API v18, we’re making improvements to the retrieval of authentication templates, making the end-to-end authentication template process easier for BSPs and businesses.

With Graph API v18, BSPs and businesses can have better visibility into preset authentication message template content after creation. Specifically, payloads will return preset content configuration options, in addition to the text used by WhatsApp. This improvement can enable BSPs and businesses to build “edit” UIs for authentication templates that can be constructed on top of the API.

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Note that errors may occur when upgrading to Graph API v18 if BSPs or businesses are taking the entire response from the GET request and providing it back to the POST request to update templates. To resolve, the body/header/footer text fields should be dropped before passing back into the API.

Re-launching dev docs and changelogs for creating Call Ads

  • Facebook Reels Placement for Call Ads

    Meta is releasing the ability to deliver Call Ads through the Facebook Reels platform. Call ads allow users to call businesses in the moment of consideration when they view an ad, and help businesses drive more complex discussions with interested users. This is an opportunity for businesses to advertise with call ads based on peoples’ real-time behavior on Facebook. Under the Ad set Level within Ads Manager, businesses can choose to add “Facebook Reels” Under the Placements section.
  • Re-Launching Call Ads via API

    On September 12, 2023, we’re providing updated guidance on how to create Call Ads via the API. We are introducing documentation solely for Call Ads, so that 3P developers can more easily create Call Ads’ campaigns and know how to view insights about their ongoing call ad campaigns, including call-related metrics. In the future, we also plan to support Call Add-ons via our API platform. Developers should have access to the general permissions necessary to create general ads in order to create Call Ads via the API platform.

    Please refer to developer documentation for additional information.

Deprecations & Breaking Changes

Graph API changes for user granular permission feature

We are updating two graph API endpoints for WhatsAppBusinessAccount. These endpoints are as follows:

  • Retrieve message templates associated with WhatsAppBusiness Account
  • Retrieve phone numbers associated with WhatsAppBusiness Account

With v18, we are rolling out a new feature “user granular permission”. All existing users who are already added to WhatsAppBusinessAccount will be backfilled and will continue to have access (no impact).

The admin has the flexibility to change these permissions. If the admin changes the permission and removes access to view message templates or phone numbers for one of their users, that specific user will start getting an error message saying you do not have permission to view message templates or phone numbers on all versions v18 and older.

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Deprecate legacy metrics naming for IG Media and User Insights

Starting on September 12, Instagram will remove duplicative and legacy, insights metrics from the Instagram Graph API in order to share a single source of metrics to our developers.

This new upgrade reduces any confusion as well as increases the reliability and quality of our reporting.

After 90 days of this launch (i.e. December 11, 2023), we will remove all these duplicative and legacy insights metrics from the Instagram Graph API on all versions in order to be more consistent with the Instagram app.

We appreciate all the feedback that we’ve received from our developer community, and look forward to continuing to work together.

Please review the media insights and user insights developer documentation to learn more.

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Deprecate all Facebook Wi-Fi v1 and Facebook Wi-Fi v2 endpoints

Facebook Wi-Fi was designed to improve the experience of connecting to Wi-Fi hotspots at businesses. It allowed a merchant’s customers to get free Wi-Fi simply by checking in on Facebook. It also allowed merchants to control who could use their Wi-Fi and for how long, and integrated with ads to enable targeting to customers who had used the merchant’s Wi-Fi. This product was deprecated on June 12, 2023. As the partner notice period has ended, all endpoints used by Facebook Wi-Fi v1 and Facebook Wi-Fi v2 have been deprecated and removed.

API Version Deprecations:

As part of Facebook’s versioning schedule for Graph API and Marketing API, please note the upcoming deprecations:

Graph API

  • September 14, 2023: Graph API v11.0 will be deprecated and removed from the platform
  • February 8, 2024: Graph API v12.0 will be deprecated and removed from the platform
  • May 28, 2024: Graph API v13.0 will be deprecated and removed from the platform

Marketing API

  • September 20, 2023: Marketing API v14.0 will be deprecated and removed from the platform
  • September 20, 2023: Marketing API v15.0 will be deprecated and removed from the platform
  • February 06, 2024: Marketing API v16.0 will be deprecated and removed from the platform

To avoid disruption to your business, we recommend migrating all calls to the latest API version that launched today.

Facebook Platform SDK

As part of our 2-year deprecation schedule for Platform SDKs, please note the upcoming deprecations and sunsets:

  • October 2023: Facebook Platform SDK v11.0 or below will be sunset
  • February 2024: Facebook Platform SDK v12.0 or below will be sunset

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Allowing Users to Promote Stories as Ads (via Marketing API)





Before today (August 28, 2023), advertisers could not promote images and/or videos used in Instagram Stories as ads via the Instagram Marketing API. This process created unwanted friction for our partners and their customers.

After consistently hearing about this pain point from our developer community, we have removed this unwanted friction for advertisers and now allow users to seamlessly promote their image and/or video media used in Instagram Stories as ads via the Instagram Marketing API as of August 28, 2023.

We appreciate all the feedback received from our developer community, and hope to continue improving your experience.

Please review the developer documentation to learn more.

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Launching second release of Facebook Reels API: An enterprise solution for desktop and web publishers





We’re excited to announce that the second release of FB Reels API is now publicly available for third-party developers. FB Reels API enables users of third-party platforms to share Reels directly to public Facebook Pages and the New Pages Experience.

FB Reels API has grown significantly since the first release in September 2022. The new version of the APIs now support custom thumbnails, automatic music tagging, tagging collaborators, longer format of reels and better error handling.

FB Reels API will also support scheduling and draft capability to allow creators to take advantage of tools provided either by Meta or by our partners. Based on the feedback we received from our partners, we’ll now provide additional audio insights via the Audio Recommendations API and reels performance metrics via the Insights API.

Our goal in the next couple of releases is to continue to make it easier for creators to develop quality content by adding features like early copyright detection and A/B testing. We’re also excited to start working on enhanced creation features like Video clipping- so stay tuned to hear more about those features in the future.


If you are a developer interested in integrating with the Facebook Reels API, please refer to the Developer Documents for more info.

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Not sure if this product is for you? Check out our entire suite of sharing offerings.

Tune in to Product @scale event to learn more about FB Video APIs and hear from some of our customers.

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