Facebook bans ad by Huntsville gun business

UPDATED: Facebook denied the ad due to it violating the companies advertising policy, but the business disagrees.

Posted: Apr. 18, 2018 10:06 PM
Updated: Apr. 19, 2018 2:33 PM

A Huntsville business that sells guns and ammunition is upset because Facebook denied an ad that did not specifically advertise either of those two things -- but yet it was still blocked.

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The Facebook post by Bullet and Barrel shows no guns, or ammunition, and only advertises a clothing sale. The owner attempted to boost the post, which would essentially turn it into an ad.

Facebook denied the request to boost the post because of the company's policy that says advertising the sale of weapons or leading to destinations where the business primarily focuses on the sale of weapons is not allowed.

Melanie Murray, President of Bullet and Barrel, has had ads containing guns denied in the past, but because Facebook continues to push ad buying to her, and because the content of this ad didn't include weapons specifically, she thought it would be OK.

"They pepper me with junk mail requesting me to boost all the time, I mean all the time, so I thought, 'OK, let me just try it again,'" said Murray.

Dequanty Thompson, of Huntsville, said Facebook not allowing certain businesses to buy ads seems unfair to him.

"That could be on the lines of favoritism in terms of choosing what they want and don't want, but at the same time I guess that as a company they have the right to choose whether they're going to advertise something or not," said Thompson.

Patrick Bakula, of Huntsville, said he's on the side of Facebook on this issue, because they're a private business and can make that decision; especially since Bullet and Barrel can simply take their advertising money elsewhere.

"If the company wants to promote themselves, after all they can go hand out fliers, they can take out a TV ad, maybe a radio ad," said Bakula.

A lawyer in Huntsville told WAAY 31 that Facebook is legally allowed to deny Bullet and Barrel's ad, because they're not discriminating based on sex, race, religion, or any of the other federally-protected categories. 

Murray said she understands that distinction, and that her situation doesn't rise to the level of discrimination, but that it presents a slippery slope.

"When people start censoring in this area, where are we going to stop? And do we have a will as a country -- do we have a will as a state to say, 'Mark Zuckerberg and your people, this isn't right?,'" said Murray.

WAAY 31 emailed Facebook Wednesday to find out if the ad denial was because of a recent policy change, or if they plan on changing their ad policy. Facebook replied via email Wednesday night that someone would call WAAY 31 with a statement, but as of Thursday afternoon, no call has been received. 

Bullet and Barrel posted to Facebook Wednesday night that they had just received another email from Facebook, asking the business to boost a post.

Take a look at the post in question below, and comment below with your thoughts on whether the ad should have been banned. 

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