“[This] highlights why Lesbian Visibility Week is needed. None of our other Human Rights adverts have been blocked”
BY KELLY-ANNE TAYLOR
Facebook has allegedly banned an advert celebrating the first Lesbian Visibility Week.
The ad, promoting the newsletter of the Peter Tatchell Foundation, an independent Human Rights charity, had been guest edited by Linda Riley, publisher of DIVA magazine, and one of the architects of the inaugural Lesbian Visibility Week.
“We are angry that our attempt to support the lesbian community has been sabotaged,” said Peter Tatchell, director of the Foundation. “It highlights why Lesbian Visibility Week is needed. None of our other human rights adverts have been blocked.”
The advert celebrated lesbians who had “found a novel way to marry” during the lockdown. Facebook claims it prohibited the advert as it “mentions politicians, topics that could influence the outcome of an election, or existing or proposed legislation.”
Mr Tatchell argued: “It did none of these things.”
The advert, which went live on Thursday 23 April 2020, ran for 48 hours before it was blocked, despite the fact it had been initially approved by the social media giant. The organisation was still charged for the advert.
“The advert was innocuous and Facebook has now categorised it alongside Russian troll factories that sought to influence the Brexit vote and US presidential elections,” added Mr Tatchell.
“Lesbian Visibility Week does not target politicians or issues that could influence election outcomes. It is a non-party political and is a fantastic human rights initiative.”
DIVA has previously faced issues with Facebook after being prevented from creating a page with the word lesbian in it.
The full wording of the censored Facebook advert was: “Learn about lesbians who were cheered as they found a novel way to marry during the lockdown. This week’s #PTFweekly celebrates #LesbianVisibilityWeek and is guest edited by Linda Riley of DIVA Magazine.”
In a statement, Facebook denied the advert had been censored, telling DIVA: “The advert run by the Peter Tatchell Foundation was disabled by Facebook because the page is not authorised to run social issues ads. Ads about social issues, elections or politics that appear on our platforms need to be authorised in advance and the ads should include a disclaimer.”
The Facebook company spokesperson continued: “We’re working with the advertiser to help them register their page to run social issue ads and better understand our policies and correctly labelling ads in the future.”
The piece was updated on 28 April 2020 to include a statement from Facebook.
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