Facebook has come under fire from LGBTQ groups for blocking their paid-for adverts on the social media platform.
Pages such as LGBT Pride, Montgomery County LGBT Business School, and Seattle Gay Families reportedly had adverts removed for seeming to advocate for “various policies or political positions.”
One promoted post that was banned, the Washington Post discovered, was from the Bisexual.org page wishing bisexual Grey Anatomy actress Sara Ramirez a happy birthday.
“The ones that were incorrectly labeled have been removed from the archive and we apologise for the error,” Facebook spokeswoman Devon Kearns said.
“We do not consider all ads that relate to LGBT under this policy, but rather only those that advocate for various policies or political positions, which several of these ads do.”
Chief executive of the LGBT Network, David Kilmnick, said that his nonprofit organisation had seen about 15 advert blocked under Facebook’s policy.
Kilmnick said he was initially confused as to why adverts promoting his events – which included a LGBT youth prom and Long Island Pride Parade, among others – were being blocked.
“We were completely targeted simply because we were LGBT for what we’re advertising — ads that promote our programs that help support the community and celebrate pride. There’s nothing political about that,” he said.
Elsewhere, the Los Angeles LGBT Center claimed that they had seen seven to 10 of their ads blocked by Facebook.
“We can’t get a clear answer about why things are being blocked or someone to follow up with us about how we register as an organization,” said Kelly Freter, the director of marketing and communications at the Los Angeles LGBT Center.
“The bigger concern from us is that we’re unable to reach people in the community.”
Facebook wouldn’t disclose how their advertisement filtering system operates.
However, earlier this year the social media giant quietly blocked ad targeting by sexual orientation.
This means that it’s harder than ever for LGBTQ organisations to target specific communities that their promotional messages need to reach.