A veterans’ group is indignant after Facebook pulled an ad for an event to honor two fallen police officers.
Officers Christopher Ryan Morton and Gary Michael, both veterans, were shot and killed a year apart in the small Missouri community of Clinton.
This year, the town planned a service for Memorial Day to honor the two heroes.
In the weeks leading up to the event, the local Veteran’s of Foreign Wars group purchased a Facebook ad to spread the word about the service, only to have Facebook remove it, citing its political ad policy.
The ad read, “Come joins us for the memorial ceremony as we pay tribute to our fallen Clinton police officers. If you plan to attend, please bring a lawn chair.”
The ad was rejected and the group received a popup from Facebook, which explained the ad wasn’t permitted because of its “political content.”
“Your ad was not approved because your page has not been authorized to run ads with political content,” the popup read.
“This was not a political organization, and this was not a political ad,” Bruce Tarleton told Kansas City’s KCTV.
“It’s clear it’s not a political ad when you look at it,” Tarleton added.
Tarleton appealed Facebook’s rejection, and the ad was put back up — only to be taken down the next day.
“That’s what really got to me, because they had already run if for 24 hours now. Then on further review, they look at it again and it has to do with politics?” Tarleton said.
“It’s frustrating in that there’s nobody you can call or contact — it’s all through the computer, and you are at the mercy of messages,” he said.
Facebook has recently made sweeping changes to its ad policies after reports that Russia allegedly used political ads to meddle in the 2016 election.
“Starting today, all election-related and issue ads on Facebook and Instagram in the US must be clearly labeled — including a ‘Paid for by’ disclosure from the advertiser at the top of the ad,” the new Facebook policy states. “Advertisers wanting to run ads with political content in the US will need to verify their identity and location.”
“These changes will not prevent abuse entirely. We’re up against smart, creative and well-funded adversaries who change their tactics as we spot abuse. But we believe that they will help prevent future interference in elections on Facebook. And it is why they are so important.”
Facebook has not responded to questions of why the Memorial Day ad was removed.
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