February 10, 2021
Well, we’re having another bad Facebook day. They won’t let us run our “promoted post” ads again.
We’ve had problems before, but for the last few months they’ve mostly sailed through. But our boost this week got rejected – they sent us the dreaded “This violates our temporary ban on elections and politics” note.
That’s totally lame. Look at the name of the blog post we’re trying to boost: Copyright is Neither Left Nor Right. The whole point of the piece is that copyright transcends politics… and our mission to uphold copyright and fight for creative rights is not inflammatory.
Look, we get it. Facebook is in hot water again because so much volatile and misleading stuff is being posted about political issues. It’s fine if they are more careful about what kind of misinformation and divisive content gets promoted via political advertising.
But a factual column promoting the fact that Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives and moderates, can work together constructively on copyright? There’s nothing partisan or political about that.
Someone at Facebook decided otherwise. What are they thinking?
Well, we’re going to try again. First step – we’re going to ask that today’s rejected boost be reviewed by the all-powerful, Facebook (Face-less?) ad moderator overlords and see what happens. Stay tuned!
February 12, 2021
Well, that didn’t work. Not at all. Took about 12 hours for the moderators to get back to us with a big, fat “Nope!” No real explanation. Just the whole thing about a “temporary ban on… politics.”
It’s really annoying. Think about the fact that Facebook’s crackdown on political ads is making it impossible for us to tell everyone on social media how non-political copyright is. (Oh, the irony!) But we seem to have no recourse. You can’t appeal. There is no one to reach out to up the Facebook chain of command. And no one offers any explanation or guidance as to why your absolutely non-political promotion was deemed political. You get one measly review of a rejected ad and then, if the verdict stands, you’re SOL.
Anyway, we’re not done. This particular boost may be officially DOA, but there may be other ways to skin this cat, Diary. We’ll keep you posted!
February 17, 2021
So, we buried our original, rejected boost for Copyright is Neither Left Nor Right, and we made a new one – but this time we stripped it of any text that some moderator or AI could reasonably deem “political.” It didn’t include any partisan positions on any topics, but for good measure we removed terms like “policy” and “government” and “Democrat” and “Republican” and replaced them with totally innocuous language. You know, like, “art is good” and “creativity is awesome.” That’s pretty much what we’re all about anyway. We figured that no reasonable moderator would block a boosted post like that for being “political,” right?
Wrong. We got rejected in literally 12 minutes.
So this is what Facebook moderators are doing, blocking nonpartisan posts about copyright? Don’t you think they ought to be putting all their time and energy into addressing the really damaging stuff they allow on the platform – from human trafficking to online violence to hate speech?
February 25, 2021
Time for a new tactic – we changed the graphic.
Originally, we had a picture of a donkey and an elephant meeting in the middle – which, as you know, got rejected. So, this time we went with an image of two arrows pointing toward a target, which we figured could represent pretty much anything… archery, a certain big box retail chain, the totally non-political nature of copyright. Anything.
For good measure, we changed the title of the post, too. We found a “nonpolitical” way to make the same point: Everybody Loves Copyright. This should work, right?
Nope. In fact, this boosted post was rejected in about eight minutes flat.
We’re starting to think this is personal, Diary. Maybe it’s not about this post at all. Maybe we’ve been blacklisted based not on the message in our post but because we’re a nonpartisan, pro-copyright, anti-piracy organization. Maybe they’ve just decided not to let us promote our links, period.
Are we being paranoid? Dunno. But next week, we’re going to put this theory to the test…
March 1, 2021
Odaytay, eway ademay away Acebookfay ostpay entirelyway inway Igpay Atinlay.
That is Pig Latin for, “Today, we made a Facebook post entirely in Pig Latin.” We figured maybe the “moderator” is just some piece of software that looks for certain key words… and we’d probably never figure out what those words were. So, we replaced the entire text of our beleaguered Copyright Is Neither Left Nor Right boost with literal gibberish.
And guess what? It was, once again, denied within minutes!
Denying a promoted post written in gibberish on the grounds that it is “political” is truly strange.
Why do we care so much? Well, if Facebook weren’t a social media monopoly and there were somewhere else to go with our messaging and reach our followers, we wouldn’t. But there’s nothing else like it in the world. We aren’t the first to question Facebook’s power to silence legitimate users, and now that’s just what they’re doing.
But we’re not done.
March 3, 2021
Today, we prepared for our final salvo in this seemingly endless battle to get Facebook to let us run a single ad.
We took our gibberish approach to the next level, not only prepping another boost written in Pig Latin, but converting the text of the blog post itself to Pig Latin. In this way, we would establish once and for all that Facebook doesn’t care what content we try to advertise … that it will block any boost we try to run, even one that links to sheer nonsense, because it has a problem with us.
We get why Facebook wants to block content from Russian troll farms. We really don’t get why they want to block our celebrations of copyright and creativity and our promotion of nonpartisan efforts to stop the clearly illegal act of piracy.
We were all set to go when – before we could run our final test of Facebook’s true intentions – the company lifted its political ad ban.
That’s right, let it be known that as of today, March 3, 2021, groups like us can once again boost blog posts on Facebook with titles such as 8 Great Interactive Music Projects to Launch Us into Spring without fear of political banishment.
But while we’re glad to be able to use the platform to reach a large audience again, we’re not feeling particularly celebratory.
Does anyone else find it a little weird that Facebook was so worried about disinformation, it suddenly cut off countless legitimate groups like ours from the ability to reach people with our legitimate voice? Then, just as suddenly, it’s like, “Oh that? We’re not worried about that anymore. Go ahead and advertise again, so-called political advertisers whom we previously blacklisted. Have a nice day!”
It’s cool that we can pay to promote our content on Facebook again. But that whole “ban” thing doesn’t seem to have had any effect on the real sources of misinformation.
It looks like Facebook got freaked out by the turmoil of recent months (and the blame it’s getting for helping to stoke it)… and, rather than find a nuanced way to address the problem, they tried to smash it with a hammer. Now they’ve put the hammer away, but their big misinformation problem isn’t fixed – because things don’t get fixed when you smash them with a hammer, they just get more broken.
Sigh. Remember when we used to write about stuff like our latest crush or whatever in here, Diary? Life was so simple before Facebook came into our lives. Now? We just feel like we’re in a bad marriage that we can’t get out of – like we’re trapped in this toxic relationship with this internet platform… for no other reason than there just isn’t anywhere else to go.