By John Upton / Grist
Activist cell-phone company CREDO tried to run an advertisement on Facebook calling on Facebook’s founder to stop running TV ads that support the proposed Keystone XL pipeline.
Guess whether the social media giant liked that idea.
Facebook quickly rejected the ad, saying it violated its advertising policies.
We told you last week about FWD.US, a political group cofounded by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to push for immigration reform. One of the group’s subsidiaries is running an ad praising Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) in which Graham voices his support for Keystone XL and drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, along with his opposition to “ObamaCare.” The ad is apparently attempting to bolster the lawmaker’s support among conservatives, which is jeopardized by his support of immigration reform. An ad financed by another FWD.US subsidiary supports Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska), praising him for pursuing oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
But Facebook does not want its billion or so users hearing from its opponents on this issue.
The ad was rejected when CREDO tried to post it to the social network. According to an e-mail the company received from Facebook, the ad violates Facebook policies because it uses Zuckerberg’s image.
Facebook policies do state that it will reject ads that contain Facebook logos, icons or trademarked images in a way that falls outside of its usage guidelines or if the advertisements incorrectly imply the social network has given its “partnership, sponsorship or endorsement” to the ad.
In a statement, Facebook said it generally rejects “ads that contain Mark’s image because — not surprisingly — in our experience those ads tend to be confusing for users, and frequently misleading. Users may click on the ad thinking it is a message from Mark or from Facebook, not understanding that they are actually in an advertisement seeking to take advantage of Mark’s image.”
CREDO isn’t the only group taking to Facebook to object to the Graham and Begich ads. From Politico:
The Sierra Club is taking a similar approach. The environmental group encouraged its members Monday to share a note that says, “Zuckerberg promoting dirty fuels? DISLIKE.”
The critics say they are infuriated that a group backed by Zuckerberg and green-minded venture capitalists like John Doerr could be supporting ads that tout oil drilling.
Meanwhile, Keystone XL opponents are planning a protest today that will be harder for Facebook to simply squash. The protest will be conducted the old-fashioned way, in person, outside of Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif.
Go ahead and post this story on Facebook — the image of the banned advertisement should show up automatically. And let us know in our comment section below whether the Facebook overlords take it down.
Here is one of the television ads that has activists riled: