Why was PatrioticMe banned from advertising on Facebook? Here are products that may have violated ad policy
The Facebook Ads Team notified that the advertisements did not comply with Facebook's advertising policies or other standards
Retailer PatrioticMe was banned from advertising on Facebook following the 2020 presidential elections, according to a report. LeAnn Miller, who runs PatrioticMe, spoke to the publication on the ad account ban, saying the notice came as a shock and that her products are "very benign."
The Blaze wrote that Miller, 50, had the idea to open PatrioticMe in 2019 after her son left for college, with the business launching on September 11, 2020, "to honor the heroic American first responders of the 9/11 terrorist attacks." A portion of every sale is donated to the Tunnel to Towers Foundation which was founded in honor of late New York City firefighter Stephen Siller who died after responding to the 9/11 attacks.
Miller told The Blaze that she chose "not to be partisan, at all," saying, "I feel like that is so important. I want everybody to be patriotic."
The ad on Facebook for PatrioticMe read, "Loving your country shouldn't be hidden. Check out our new line of long sleeve shirts! We have an attractive range of patriotic clothes to show that love off! 10% off on your order for a limited time! Every time you purchase, We donate a portion of it to the tunnel to the tower foundation."
Miller reportedly received an email from the Facebook Ads Team on November 4, 2020, notifying her that her advertisements did not comply with Facebook's advertising policies or other standards. A copy of the email was provided to the publication and read, "Our policies and standards help keep Facebook safe and welcoming for everyone. We use either technology or a review team to remove anything that doesn't comply with our policies or standards as quickly as possible."
The Blaze reported that it could not identify what components of PatrioticMe's ads violated Facebook's advertisement policy and community standards.
What is Facebook's ad policy?
Facebook has various standards and regulations for advertising on the platform that focuses on prohibited content, restricted content, and others. Facebook states in its policy that during the advert review process, it checks the advert's images, text, targeting and positioning, in addition to the content on the advert's landing page. It also states, "Your advert may not be approved if the landing page content isn't fully functional, doesn't match the product/service promoted in your advert or doesn't fully comply with our Advertising Policies."
While PatrioticMe's Facebook advert seems innocuous enough, it could be the retailer's products that landed it in hot water with the social media platform. There are various policies that PatrioticMe's products may have violated. Facebook flags ads that it considers are discriminatory or violent.
The policy also specifically states "Ads must not contain praise, support or representation of individuals or groups that support organizations and movements with ties to violence, including non-state militia groups and QAnon." The policy also states that "ads must not contain content that exploits crises or controversial political or social issues for commercial purposes."
Why PatrioticMe's ad may have been flagged?
As Facebook states in its policy, the landing page of the advert is also analyzed to see if it is fully complying with the company's advertising policies. Some of PatrioticMe's products simply feature the American flag or even just the words "USA" or "All American Girl."
However, there are several products that have symbols associated with white supremacist groups and right-wing groups. Some of these symbols were even seen during the deadly Capitol Hill riots on January 6.
One of these symbols is the Betsy Ross flag, which PatrioticMe features on t-shirts and hoodies. According to Quartz, the early version of the American flag designed by Betsy Ross is seen by extremist groups "as an emblem of a more traditional (read: white and male-dominated) America." Some of these products also feature "1776," a phrase used by the far-right rioters before and during the failed insurrection attempt at the Capitol building.
Other controversial images on PatrioticMe's products include the Thin blue line flag, which was flown by white supremacists at the "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville in 2017, and a t-shirt with the text, "They stood for the flag, now I do," in a direct reference to Black Lives Matter protestors, including Colin Kaepernick taking the knee to protest police brutality. The business's Facebook profile also features some of these products.