Ad Promoting Free-Speech Post Squelched

Screen grab from Facebook ad administration page

Thanks to the financial support of our generous readers, Bacon’s Rebellion has begun promoting popular posts on Facebook with the goal of driving traffic to the website. Faceless Facebook minions review each ad before it can be published. Not surprisingly, any text with “COVID” appears to be automatically rejected, even when we’re not opining on the efficacy of official state and federal guidelines. More surprising was the recent rejection of an ad promoting a recent post, When “Words Are Violence,” Only One Side Gets to Speak, about free speech and expression at the University of Virginia.

At the risk of provoking Facebook, our most promising marketing vehicle, I am posting an image of the rejection notice, which appeared with no explanation. I feel fortunate that Facebook has not nixed any of posts on the Bacon’s Rebellion Facebook page — only the ads. I’m hoping that doesn’t change. We’ll see. The situation is fluid.

Here follows the text of the Facebook policy we violated:

Full Policy
9.a Ads About Social Issues, Elections or Politics

Advertisers can run ads about social issues, elections or politics, provided the advertiser complies with all applicable laws and the authorization process required by Facebook. Where appropriate, Facebook may restrict issue, electoral or political ads. In addition, certain content related to elections may be prohibited in specific regions ahead of voting; click here for more.

Any advertiser running ads about social issues, elections or politics who is located in or targeting people in designated countries must complete the authorization process required by Facebook, except for news publishers identified by Facebook. This applies to any ad that:

Is made by, on behalf of or about a candidate for public office, a political figure, a political party, a political action committee or advocates for the outcome of an election to public office; or

Is about any election, referendum or ballot initiative, including “get out the vote” or election information campaigns; or

Is about any social issue in any place where the ad is being run; or

Is regulated as political advertising.
Advertisers running these ads, regardless of location, targeting or news exemptions, must comply with all applicable laws and regulations, including but not limited to requirements involving:

Disclaimer, disclosure and ad labeling;

Blackout periods;

Foreign interference; or

Spending limits and reporting requirements.

Running issue, electoral or political ads without authorization, providing false or misleading information in the authorization process, and other ad policy violations may lead to enforcement action against your Profile, associated Pages, and/or ad accounts. Enforcement actions may include:

Disabling associated Pages

Disabling existing ads

Restricting the ability to run new ads

Restricting the ability to merge Pages; and

Revoking authorization to run issue, electoral or political ads
Ads must not run in or be targeted at the state of Washington when the ads relate to Washington’s state or local elected officials, candidates, elections or ballot initiatives. In addition, ads must not run in or be targeted at the state of Washington when the ads relate to Seattle legislation.


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21 responses to “Ad Promoting Free-Speech Post Squelched”

  1. Stephen Haner Avatar
    Stephen Haner

    The next Stalin, Mao or Adolph is going to have it so much easier…..

    1. JuniusQuercus Avatar

      I’m afraid the next such people are already in Richmond and Washington.

  2. The Facebook algorithm must have objected to the use of the word violence itself.

  3. tmtfairfax Avatar

    Facebook is not acting in a manner that it similar to a common carrier. Think old-time Western Union and telegraph messages or T-Mobile carrying phone calls. Section 230 protections need to be stripped from Internet social media platforms that decide what to publish.

    1. Just so. We have only the bureaucrats and the libel laws. Section 230 takes away the libel laws; that leaves only the bureaucrats within Facebook. Typically a common carrier has well established non-discrimination requirements to meet, enforced by a regulatory agency — bureaucrats still, but under an obligation to regulate in the public interest. Facebook should be subject to both: both libel law and common carrier regulation in the public interest.

      1. Matt Adams Avatar
        Matt Adams

        We also have any number of defacto monopolies operating at current, with feckless bureaucrats more beholden to the cash they supply.

  4. Matt Adams Avatar
    Matt Adams

    All in the name of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) a property formula for entities to craft their own narrative.

  5. James C. Sherlock Avatar
    James C. Sherlock

    “Running issue, electoral or political ads without authorization”. Says it all.

  6. LarrytheG Avatar

    I would have thought you’d do much better advertising on sites that appeal to Conservatives, no?

  7. LarrytheG Avatar

    For those who say the Founding Fathers did a complete job on “free speech” in the Constitution, what should the SCOTUS say about the ability of platforms like Facebook to “censor”?

    1. What “should” or what will? Interesting question.

      1. Nancy Naive Avatar
        Nancy Naive

        Why will?

    2. Matt Adams Avatar
      Matt Adams

      The Founding Fathers operated under a predecessor to Counterspeech Doctrine (they didn’t believe in restricting someone’s voice no matter the medium).

      1. Nancy Naive Avatar
        Nancy Naive

        George Carlin and Lenny Bruce thank you.

        1. Matt Adams Avatar
          Matt Adams

          Irrelevant as usual.

          1. Nancy Naive Avatar
            Nancy Naive

            Well, you should work on it.

          2. Matt Adams Avatar
            Matt Adams

            I should work on you being irrelevant? Why, that sounds more like an issue that requires self-reflection.

    3. Nancy Naive Avatar
      Nancy Naive

      They would not say anything about Dr. Franklin deciding what he would, or would not, allowed to be printed in the Pennsylvania Gazette… the 1776 version of FaceBook.

  8. Matt Adams Avatar
    Matt Adams

    All in the name of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) a property formula for entities to craft their own narrative.

  9. Publius Avatar

    I think this means Bacon’s Rebellion has officially arrived as an Enemy of the State!
    Congratulations to Jim on this “achievement.”
    And for Larry…maybe the point of Facebook ads would be to reach an audience who does not know of you and/or to persuade the persuadable…
    Finally, Section 230 and Sullivan v NY Times need work. The morphing to flat out libeling and hiding behind the difficulty of proving malice has really ruined journalism. No consequences for lying…and as long as you can lie for your team, why not?

  10. Eric the half a troll Avatar
    Eric the half a troll

    I am glad that we can now dictate what ads (and other content) can be run on private broadcast networks. Huge improvement!!

    Ps: I suspect you can appeal this rejection… no?

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