Facebook blocked Dr. Carol Swain’s ad account, claiming her ads had violated their policies on “deceptive or misleading practices.” Swain had posted an ad for a virtual law enforcement appreciation event.
Swain told The Tennessee Star that she’d directed the woman who runs her social media to submit the ad. Facebook informed Swain that she’d have to change the ad or submit new paperwork to describe the ad as “political.”
When Swain and her team attempted to follow up with Facebook, however, they received no response. Instead of rejecting or approving the ad, the Facebook team disabled Swain’s ad account.
“They said my account had been disabled because of a policy violation,” she said. “When I tried to request a review of my ad account [like they said I should], Facebook said I couldn’t request a review because I didn’t have an ad account… because they’d disabled it. So then I went back into my Facebook and I pointed out to them that I’d sent multiple requests for them to review my account.”
After, Dr. Swain expressed her frustration with the company on Facebook and Twitter. Swain also told the company of her intentions to write Mark Zuckerberg personally and report the issue to Congress.
“It’s taken me a long time to build my platform to where it is,” she said. “The reason they gave me for violating their ad policy didn’t make any sense, because you submit ads to them for review. They were just silent, and they didn’t respond to my inquiries.”
She stated that, after she’d gone public with her issue, the Facebook team restored her ad account overnight.
“Then this morning when I awakened, there was an email from Facebook saying the ban had been lifted,” Swain said.
Dr. Swain added that she’d noticed a pattern with her page even before this incident.
“I felt they were shadow-banning my account. I would post something, and only a few people would see it. More people would see it on my personal account than people would on my account with over 68,000 likes and nearly 70,000 followers,” she said.
As for others experiencing the fact-checking and censorship, Swain advised to keep record of those incidents whenever they occur.
“I think people need to document when these things happen to them, and I think they need to go public with that and they need to tag these companies to expose what’s taking place.”
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