Article by Patrick Cain, Global News
Having said in June that censoring an ad for a Montreal group’s panel discussion on marijuana was a mistake, Facebook then proceeded to censor it all over again in July.
And Facebook also censored an ad the group had bought that linked to a Global News story on the original censorship.
“I was a little flabbergasted by it,” says McGill University Ph.D. student Shawn McGuirk, one of the event’s organizers.
Here’s how things unfolded:
On June 26, McGuirk tried to buy a Facebook ad promoting a panel discussion on marijuana legalization scheduled for July 9 organized by the Science and Policy Exchange. It took him five hours to come up with an ad that Facebook would agree to publish — version after version was rejected for “promoting illegal drugs.” The final version, which was published, didn’t use the word “cannabis,” have a picture of a marijuana leaf or link to the original Facebook event.
On June 29, Global News published a story about the issue. A Facebook spokesperson said at the time that the platform had made a mistake:
“This ad does not violate our ad policies. We apologize for the error,” a spokesperson wrote. “We do allow marijuana advocacy content as long as it is not promoting the sale of the drug.”
That seemed to settle the matter. But on July 7, when McGuirk tried to promote the event again, his ad was once more rejected.