Who's pissed? I'm pissed.
I woke up this morning, and as I prepared to teach a class, I discovered via facebook and e-mail that my ads for Trumpocalypse Now had been pulled off by Facebook.
Initially they claimed that it was because the ads promoted a political party and brought awareness to social issues.
First - If you play the game it's clearly non-partisan. The whole theme is about world leaders putting aside partisan differences and working together for the better of all people. You know, just the way politics should be?
Secondly - Since when is it wrong to raise awareness of serious social issues?
The first thing I did was file an appeal, citing the fact that there is no pushing of any political party in it and that the game itself is satirical and protected by right to satire and freedom of speech.
Within minutes they reactivated the ad. Great I thought.
Then, a few minutes after that, I got a message telling me that my appeal was unnecessary because the ad had already been reinstated.
Okay, weird, so I checked my facebook ad account. The ad had been deactivated again.
So I messaged the appeal thread again. And they said nope, it's active and we can't act on the matter because the case is closed.
So then I sent another message to customer service, at which point I was informed that if I wanted my ad to be reactivated I had to register as a political entity with Facebook, and even if it was reinstated, it could only display to Facebook users in Canada and not the U.S. On the grounds of being a political entity.
I was incensed. Wasn't sure what to do, how I felt, or if I should forget the whole thing.
Then I decided to fill in the registration.
Facebook requires me to register by submitting my home and mailing address, photos of my driver's licence or passport, and other identity information.
I had to verify a QR code and now they tell me that I have to wait for a code that they are sending via regular mail that will likely take a couple of weeks before I can complete the registration to post an ad for a target market who still won't be allowed to see it anyway.
For making a satirical video game.
I feel disgusted that I even completed that registration and I did have great pause before going ahead.
This is the danger that we face when one company becomes the go to place for everyone to communicate or shops or anything else. When you give all the time and attention and dollars to large companies like Facebook, Amazon, etc. You also inadvertently give them the ability to control the flow of data and communication, to censor or bottle neck whenever they want.
There needs to be an open, public, uncensored alternative to any large conglomerate, because I, and I'm sure many others, don't want to support a business that abuses its power and decides what I'm allowed to view.
As for Facebook, they clearly don't need my advertising dollars, which will now go elsewhere, regardless of how this "political registration" goes.
I hope to god that the American people see things like this happening and stop it from happening again.
UPDATE: I decided to submit an ad to Facebook promoting and directing people to this blog post. It's been sitting in review for an hour, I'll keep you posted as to what happens!
Update update: Facebook has refused the ad promoting this blog post. Guess it’s time to test where exactly they draw a line on what is allowed in add and show consistency cuz ima test that.
Update update update: Facebook has allowed me to post an ad linking to this blog, but only with my personal logo instead of any Trumpocalypse Now images and with no mention of Trumpocalypse in the ad text. Everything else tried was refused.
Update update update update: As of Sept. 6th, I am now registered as a political organization, as such I am allowed to post ads of political or social issues, to users in my home country of Canada, but not viewable to those in the U.S. as my VIDEO GAME may constitute a foreign agent attempting to disrupt America’s political system. Isn’t it great that we live in a free country?!?