This morning, I received the above email from Facebook’s incredibly empathetic advertising team. In case you can’t tell, when I said “incredibly empathetic” I was being sarcastic. Over the last 24 hours, I’ve been attempting to discover why the world’s largest social network has banned me from promoting my content on its site. I’ve tried everything from asking nicely to pleading to their softer side to requesting to speak to a manager, and still I have not received any type of adequate explanation from a Facebook employee as to why an amiable parent blogger, who spends more money than he should advertising on Mark Zuckerberg’s creation, has been added to the no-promote list.
All I keep getting over and over again are messages similar to the one I’ve screen grabbed above. It’s been frustrating and infuriating in equal measures. I was this close to hurling my laptop at the wall while shouting: “Damn you social media!” Then I remembered a comment someone had made on the satirical article I was trying to promote. It said, “fake news”.
So I Googled “Facebook fake news” and suddenly everything became clear. It turns out that the social media network recently ordered a wave of ultra-advanced superbots to wage war on any site that was promoting fake news. These bots must have flagged my Daily Mash-style piece on a Dad who managed to make his wife and son happy at the same time as being fake news, and this must have led the humans who are paid to lay down the Facebook law to slap a banning order on my account.
So what happens next? I’m not sure as of yet. On the plus side, I’m not certain advertising on Facebook was actually getting me anywhere. On the minus side, the potential audience on that social network is huge. I have heard that if any banned site refrains from sending out fake news it can get its ad account back, so perhaps in the long term the simplest answer is to admit defeat, drop the satire and let the bots dissect my tales of parental incompetence and nappy changes gone wrong.
In the meantime, however, I’m going to annoy the heck out of everyone who works there by appealing every rejected appeal like I’m a death row patient staring down the barrel of a lethal injection. Or, you know, someone who wants to invite me for a game of Candy Crush on sodding Facebook.