Facebook has now reversed a decision to permanently disable the ads account of Heroes of Liberty, a conservative children's book publisher that has published books about Amy Coney Barrett, Ronald Reagan and Thomas Sowell. Faceook originally said that the conservative book publisher violated its rules against "Low Quality or Disruptive Content."
According to Fox Business, Facebook initially locked the ads account of Heroes of Liberty on December 23, after which the ruling was appealed by the conservative book publisher. Facebook then "permanently disabled" their account.
"The ads account was disabled in error and has been restored," Drew Pusateri, a spokesperson for Facebook's parent company Meta, explained to Fox Business. Heroes of Liberty fired back, with editor and board member Bethany Mandel saying that Meta "proactively reached out to several members of Congress and told *them* it was a mistake and we're back online. Those offices told us. [Meta] didn't reach out to us."
In a message disabling Heroes of Liberty's ads account, Facebook claimed that the ad account, ads, and other advertising assets were disabled because it failed to comply with the social media platform's policies on "Low Quality or Disruptive Content." Following an appeal by the conservative book publisher, Facebook then decided with a "final review" that the company "didn't comply with our Advertising Policies or other standards" and said it was a "final decision" in which the account will "remain disabled."
Heroes of Liberty, which opened shop on November 9 and launched on November 14, said that it used Facebook ads to promote and sell its books. Between November 23 and December 24, the conservative book publisher's account promoted 68 ads, with 95.2% of the funds on ads going to advertisements that were ranked "average" or "above average" in Facebook's quality score. Three of its 68 ads were rated below "average."
Mandel refused to take a political approach to Facebook's ban and described it as an example of anti-conservative bias by Facebook. Instead, she described it as "anti-American" and "pure madness" to "cancel children's books because they celebrate American values that 90% of Americans believe in."
According to Faithwire, the ban caught the attention of some Republican leaders and voices, including Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Fox News analyst Brit Hume, who both condemned Facebook for attempting to silence the conservative book publisher. Sen. Cruz lamented that when conservatives establish publishing platforms, Big Tech companies "work to destroy them. This latest example is particularly galling."
Hume described the banning of the ads account as "sickening" and said that Facebook was in the wrong to do so. Her tweet was responded to by Andy Stone, the policy communications director for Facebook's parent company, Meta, who reiterated that the ban was a mistake.
Meanwhile, Mandel claims that Facebook may have been pressured by a "small but noisy group of responders" to the Heroes of Liberty ads, who "made nasty comments" about their books.