Facebook doesn't let us advertise. We accept that advertising our pleasure products is not allowed (although we find that a strange moral stance to take), but Facebook refuses to let us to advertise the services we offer as well - namely, educational, health and wellbeing-focused events. We challenge this every time, but as a lot of us know from experience, it is almost impossible to get anywhere unless you know someone working for Facebook. And we want to be transparent about our frustration with this issue.
When we tried to promote a direct link to the ticketing page for Become a Sexual Communication Superhero! with Kate McCombs in the hope of reaching a wider audience of people - people who may be sorely wanting to learn skills like the ones Kate will teach in this workshop - they told us no, because their advertising guidelines prohibit advertising of "sexual acts, videos and publications, strip clubs and adult shows."
When we pointed out that this was an educational workshop with no sexual activity or even nudity involved, led by an in-demand communication and empathy expert with qualifications in public health, they again told us no, because they "don't allow ads that promote the sale of adult products such as sex toys (ex: dildos, dolls)."
When we again pointed out that this advert was for an educational workshop, with a link that leads directly to our ticketing website, and that there was no discussion or depiction or sale of sex toys involved in the advert, nor was there any "sexual acts, videos and publications, strip clubs and adult shows." They told us "sorry for the inconvenience, but our say on this matter remains unchanged."
.."Sorry for the inconvenience"
What a way to phrase that! Facebook routinely allows violent, sexist and racist pages and groups to flourish despite numerous reports being filed; they allow 18+ events in nightclubs and bars to advertise their events every single day; they allow advertising from products and services that are damaging and demeaning to our health and wellbeing.. so no, this isn't an inconvenience for us - it is an outrage.
It is outrageous that sex education and communication workshops to build skills in your interpersonal relationships are deemed too abhorrent to sit among the sexist, dangerous dreck that fills our newsfeeds.
It is outrageous that just talking about sex is too much for advertisers here, and that Facebook offers us conflicting reasons for its stance on refusing our advert (whaddya think this workshop is, Facebook - a dildo or a strip club? Make up your minds!).
It is outrageous that study after study shows people (and especially young adults) demanding better sex and relationships education and yet social media sites like Facebook want to make it so much harder for us to connect them to this education.
"Sorry for the inconvenience", indeed.
It is 2017. Isn't it time to be better than this, Facebook?
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"The analogy I like to use about my design career is this: I walked through the art gallery and ended up having way more fun in the gift shop." - Kate Fox