Veterans Day Problems on Facebook

Are you offended by the American flag?

Facebook thinks a lot of people are…

This will be a short but important newsletter. 

Friday, November 11th, was Veteran’s Day. Leading up to that day, we prepared a special Veteran’s Day post for our clients’ Facebook pages.

Facebook prioritizes videos, so we created a 7-second video showing an American flag waving in the wind. Overlaid on the video was the phrase “Thank You Veterans” plus our client’s logo.

We decided to share this video as a post instead of using it as a Facebook ad for a reason I’ll describe later in the newsletter.

We scheduled the posts to go out on Friday morning and checked back a few hours later to see how it was progressing.

Normally we would expect a new post to be seen by 50+ people within a few hours. Instead, an average of only five people saw our Veterans Day post.

By the end of the day, we would have expected to have reached at least 250 people. But, it had reached only 15 people.

Before writing this newsletter, I checked one of our client’s Facebook pages, and his Veteran’s Day post was only shown to 25 people after an entire week. Meanwhile, other posts on the same page had been seen by thousands of people.

This particular client has a large funeral home business with thousands of Facebook followers. In the same seven-day period since November 11th, our posts had reached a total of 31,129 people.

And yet, Facebook will only show a Veterans Day post to 25 people. Why?

One of the factors Facebook uses to decide how much to share your content is called engagement. That means if your content receives lots of likes/shares/comments, Facebook will show it to more people.

The post was seen by only 25 people and had 15 engagements. That’s a very high level of engagement, so that shouldn’t be the problem.

Facebook also considers what types of content other users have deemed “offensive” and doesn’t share that content with other users.

Are you offended by the American flag?

Facebook thinks a lot of people are…

There are two different ways to share information on Facebook. You can use a regular “Post” like what I’ve described above for our Veterans Day post, or you can pay to promote a post. At that point, it is technically an advertisement. The big advantage of Facebook ads is that you can target a much larger audience, not just people who follow your page.

Facebook advertisements all go through a review process. Typically that will take roughly 30 minutes.

Over the past two years, we have noticed that every time we create an ad that is patriotic in nature (e.g., has an American flag in it), the review process jumps from 30 minutes to several days. In many cases, the ad would be “under review” for days only to be rejected because it contained “offensive content”.

We shared our Veterans Day video as a post rather than an ad with the hope that Facebook would at least share it with our page followers. Unfortunately, they didn’t.

The bottom line is that whether you pay them or not, Facebook will not promote patriotic content!!

It makes me wonder what else they are blocking. What else have enough people deemed as “offensive content” that Facebook’s AI review process now blocks it from the rest of the community? Would the same thing happen if we ran an ad with a different country’s flag?

I tend to believe that this situation is not intentional. I don’t think Mark Zuckerberg and his executive team are sitting around a conference table planning to block the American flag.

However, I do think they have created a platform that people with differing agendas and good technical skills can easily manipulate. At the end of the day, Facebook needs to fix this problem, or its users will leave in droves.

Many people think that Twitter is about to implode. Unfortunately, I think Facebook is right behind them. 

Right now, Baby Boomers are still on Facebook so we will continue to connect with them on that platform. But all good things come to an end. 

Until next time



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