Question of the day: are Facebook employees illiterate, or just logic-defying gun haters?
As you have seen mentioned elsewhere, the Wall-Saver safety cylinder is going to debut in March (for late-model Smith & Wesson J-frame, just like the Pocket-Safe hammer shroud). So naturally, I was looking to put out a Facebook ad to let people know. Here’s the image I was going to use:
This was initially rejected on the grounds that it violates the Facebook ad guidelines. Here are the relevant guideline passages, which incidentally I read before trying to run my ad:
Ads may not promote firearms, ammunition, paintball guns, bb guns, fireworks, explosives, pepper spray, knives, tasers, or weapons of any kind, including those used for self-defense. Ads may not directly or indirectly link to landing pages where people can purchase any of these products.
Images of weapons are generally acceptable, as long as the weapon is not pointed directly at the person seeing it.
Ads promoting blogs or groups that exist to help connect people whose interests are related to these products are allowed as long as the service does not lead to the sale of any weapons or explosives.
Acceptable: “Gun Exposition Today”
Unacceptable: “Get your ammo here”
The Wall-Saver safety cylinder is actually an anti-weapon—put it in contact with a weapon, and it converts your weapon into a non-weapon, for safe training. It isn’t a firearm, ammunition, paintball gun, bb gun, firework, explosive, pepper spray, knife, TASER ® (a registered trademark, Facebook, thanks for noticing) or weapon of any kind. It’s a chunk of orange plastic with a little brass and some springs.
I explained this to Facebook; here is the exact message I sent them in response to the denial:
The ad guidelines state that pictures of firearms are permissible, but advertising the sale of firearms is not.
I do not sell firearms. What I am selling is the orange cylinder in the middle of the picture, which is intended to convert a live firearm into a non-firing replica for safe training. I was unable to find any ad guidelines that would forbid such a product from being advertised.
Seems reasonable enough to me—hey, I get you have a no-guns policy, I’m not arguing with that (tempting though that might be). But since I’m not selling guns, we shouldn’t have any problem.
And here’s their response:
Thanks for writing in. I’m here to help.
Your ad was rejected because it doesn’t follow our ad guidelines. Ads may not promote the sale of ammunition, firearms, knives, daggers, swords, bows or other weapons. Any ad leading people to a destination where they can purchase any weapon is not allowed. The post remains published, but isn’t running as an ad.
Keep in mind that ads can promote advocacy or interest groups that help connect people who have interests related to these products, as long as it doesn’t lead to the sale of any weapons.
Learn more about prohibited content here:
This decision is final and we may not respond to additional inquiries about this ad.
Thanks for your understanding,
Facebook Ads Team
So you may notice that they appear to have simply quoted the ad guidelines at me without bothering to notice that I’M NOT IN VIOLATION OF THEM. Indeed, it would appear that they have issued a “final” decision without even reading what I wrote. Oh, and they provided a helpful link to their ad policy, which they are not following.
Sorry Daisy, but you don’t seem like you’re here to help at all (“we may not respond…”) and no, I don’t understand how I violate your policies in any way, shape, or form.
I responded with this, which I admit is a bit intemperate and probably unhelpful:
Do you even READ what people write? Or just send boilerplate that is not relevant to the issue? Because there was nothing in your first message that was responsive to what I wrote.
I do not sell any prohibited items. I sell an ORANGE PLASTIC part that turns a functioning firearm into a non-functioning replica for safety purposes. Please quote the section of your policy that forbids the advertisement of such an item.
As of now they have not responded.
So the question I’m left with is, does Facebook hate guns so much they’ll violate their stated policies just to spite people selling gun-safety products? Or does their staff consists of bots with no reading ability?
I think the policy is itself pretty dumb, but nothing I say can change that. When you can’t be bothered to actually read what your customers say, though, and instead just regurgitate irrelevant boilerplate, it makes it awfully hard to do business with you.
Facebook responded to my crabby message and has approved the ads! They told me to go into the ads manager to get them running. And when I do…the ads aren’t there.
It only took them 72 hours from my first message explaining how I don’t violate their policies to actually approve them. How long before they run? Don’t know, since they aren’t there. I may need to make new ads and go through all this crap AGAIN.
UPDATE TO THE UPDATE:
Still no ads running….because despite TWICE now saying my ads were acceptable, they keep getting denied. I have no further interest in fighting with Facebook for the right to give them money. If they can’t be bothered to actually read messages you send them, screw them.