26-Mar-2015 (Thu)
Wherein the Facebook Morality Police have decided that we are porn.

Kingfish buys Facebook ads for the Hubba Hubba Revue shows, and every few months, Facebook decides that the ad is porn and pulls it. Then he writes them and says, "What the hell are you talking about??" and they reinstate it. Well, not this time. He tried to run an ad with this image in it:

And they say,

Your ad content violates Facebook Ad Guidelines. Ads are not allowed to promote the sale or use of adult products or services, including toys, videos, publications, live shows or sexual enhancement products. Ads for family planning and contraception are allowed if they follow our targeting requirements.

Before resubmitting your ad, please visit the Help Center to learn more and see examples of ads that meet our guidelines.

If you've read the guidelines in the Help Center and think your ad follows the rules and should have been approved, please let us know.

Gorilla suits: providing quality family planning and contraception for decades.

So then he thought, ok, someone at Facebook has found a way to fap to Gorilla X. He tried several other images with only faces in them, and eventually tried one using a Facebook-provided stock photo.

All blocked.

Every time you submit, you get a different Facebook contractor in whatever Third World, Grim Meathook Future call center they use today, which is always a wonderful crap-shoot. But since it's happening all the time now, that suggests that Facebook has decided that one of these triggers a porn blacklisting:

  • The word "Burlesque"
  • The words "Hubba Hubba"
  • Kingfish's user account
  • Or maybe some random-assed other thing?

It's not DNA Lounge in general, because we're running other DNA ads currently without problems, so far.

So we could do a bunch more experiments to try and narrow down precisely what is getting Facebook so hot and bothered that they will not take our money, but come on, what a fantastic waste of time and effort (and one likely to solve nothing but our curiosity, regardless).

    Update: Remember I said that Kingfish tried posting the ad using one of the stock photos from the library that Facebook themselves provide for you to use in ads? It looked like this:

    And Facebook wrote back:

    Thanks for writing in. I'm here to help.

    Your ad was rejected because the image doesn't follow our ad guidelines. Ads and there pages may not use overly sexual images, suggest nudity, show a lot of skin or cleavage, or focus unnecessarily on specific body parts.

    It is their own photo! It is a face! Nary a gorilla to be seen.

Facebook is still, to this day, blocking people's accounts for not using their birth names -- I hear about another performer or DJ having their Facebook account locked for using their stage name pretty much daily.

Despite the fact that Facebook promised that they weren't going to do that any more.

Like I said last year:

Hey, remember when Facebook's hateful "real names" policy got a lot of press because they went nuclear on a bunch of drag queens? And then they put out a contentless, fawning press release with a fauxpology in it?

And remember when they then they got a ton of shamefully credulous press from people saying, "Well, that's all better then"?

And remember when people like me said, "You know, maybe you should save your applause for after they've changed either their official policy or their demonstrated behavior, or both, because they haven't", and nobody listened?

We will all be so much better off once Facebook finally craters into irrelevance, just like MySpace and Livejournal did before it. (Unless, you know, whatever replaces it is even worse, which is pretty likely.) But for now, Facebook has made itself sadly, tragically, despicably indispensable as a means of reaching customers.

They dictate morality while selling you out to the highest bidder; they erode your privacy more each day by moving the goal posts and daring you to keep up; and are constantly find a way to add some new bait-and-switch to interpose themselves between you and your friends and customers.

Fuck Facebook. They really are just the worst.

If you work there, I implore you to quit. I'm sure you can find a job working for a company that you don't have to apologize for all the time. You can do it. I believe in you.

24 Responses:

  1. Jim Sweeney says:

    Perfectly stated.

  2. Jim Sweeney says:

    Quite honestly, if we have to have an all-encompassing internet dictatorship, you'd like to think it would at least be a competent one.

  3. 205guy says:

    Is burlesque not an "adult...live show"? Seems like they determined kingfish is trying to promote an adult live show and thus block it no matter what the picture or the text. You can disagree with the policy, but it seems they pare applying it consistently.

    I do agree with the rest of the rant. In the end, I think the Internet is "flawed" because it allows a corporation to take over and run a mini Internet that no one can really break out of. But all systems seem to have that flaw. The telephone system had a lock on everybody (CB was available, almost nobody used it), and the yellow pages had a lock on all the advertising in that medium.

    • Tom S says:

      Of course you can "break out" of Facebook. I never use it. Lots of people never use it. Nor is it the sine qua non of marketing. There are plenty of other ways to reach people.

    • jwz says:

      No, it's not an "adult" show. It's comedy, and in movie terms, it's barely PG-13.

      Does Facebook ban every ad for a 21+ rock show? No they do not.
      Does Facebook ban every ad for an R-rated movie? No they do not.
      Does Facebook ban every ad for a burlesque show? No they do not.

      Unless you're on their board, you have no justification to continue apologizing for Facebook capricious moralizing. They don't need your help.

    • jwz says:

      Also, since it is a 21+ event, these ads are all targeted users over 21, so people under 21 can't even see them at all.

      If you think they are applying their policy consistently, you haven't been listening.

    • 205guy says:

      I was just trying to say that it didn't seem like the image was the key to the rejection, it was the underlying product--even though they were not saying so, which I agree is a passive-aggressive dick move on their part. But now you add that other burlesque shows are allowed to advertise, so yes Facebook does appear to be arbitrary and unfair.

      Tom S, are you saying kingfish should advertise elsewhere and still expect similar engagement and dare I say penetration?

  4. Platypus says:

    If they quit, they'll probably go to Google. Big morality win there ... not! At least many of the people at Facebook produce real open-source software, not "publish a paper so we can brag but keep the code proprietary" recruitingware.

    BTW, amused by the "Connect with Facebook" button in the comment section of a post so highly complimentary of Facebook.

    • jwz says:

      The connect button shouldn't surprise you if you read to the end, including the part about them currently being indispensable.

      Yelp is completely horrible too, but I mostly just pretend Yelp doesn't exist and everything's fine. We don't have that luxury with Facebook. Ignoring them is shooting yourself in the foot.

    • Matt H says:

      So I guess Android is somehow recruiting-ware and not real open source software*?

      Is the bubble at Facebook so extreme that you can't even assess what Google ships?

      *Yes I know Google has proprietary bits of Android... but it's still damn useful on its own...

  5. Myles says:

    I think these are legitimate concerns users of Facebook should have. However, these are really, really complex problems Facebook is trying to deal with. They're not intentionally trying to fit subcultures into boxes, and their logic for understanding and appropriately handling the way their customers use their site is really complex. They're trying the best they can, and to encourage them to quit their jobs is really not the answer.

  6. Foo says:

    Why anyone uses Facebook is beyond me. Particularly for any kind of business. Why let FB control your brand, your users' experience, your marketing?

    • mattyj says:

      Because millions of people are on Facebook and, you know, DNA Lounge would like those millions to show up to events.

      I'm not on facebook, either, but I don't own a business and I have no friends in real life. Maybe someone could offer something that could reach an equivalent number of people for the same price....

      Waiting ...

  7. Jeremy Wilson says:

    Facebook won't let us run ads for our dating app at people who are listed as "married" in their profiles.

    They made a mistake a few weeks ago and our ads ended up being displayed to married people, and our signups tripled. Then they "fixed" it and it dropped down again.

    Fuck Facebook and their 50's morality bullshit.

  8. Katja says:

    Facebook posts adds for adult toys on my wall all the time...now they're saying its against the rules?!?

  9. Mariachi says:

    What was the problem with LiveJournal? It seemed fairly benign and innocuous. Certainly no Fark or 4chan.

    • jwz says:

      MySpace ate it's lunch, it stagnated, then it was acquired by the Russian mob.

      • Eric TF Bat says:

        Impressive summary. Gotta admire a single sentence that captures a decade of history so thoroughly and well.

    • One of the great coulda-woulda-shoulda stories of the early internet. LJ could have owned it all, but they sold too early to the wrong people, and that was all she wrote: the service stagnated (and what engineering talent they had fled) while first myspace and then eventually facebook stole everything about them that was interesting and wrapped up in an interface that both 12-year-olds and 72-year-olds would mostly tolerate using. And here we are.

  10. Cookie Wolf says:

    raising hand Happily ignoring Facebook over here! I got locked out of my account in January for using my chosen name, I chose to walk away cold turkey and I somehow still manage to connect with my friends, go to several shows a week, and buy tons of shit from small businesses. I'm not on Google +, Instagram, or Tumblr and I haven't spontaneously combusted from their absence from my life yet either.

    P.S. Jamie Zawinski, I think I adore you. :-)