In recent months Facebook has declared a crackdown on what it deems “fake news.” Right to Life of Michigan may be the latest legitimate organization swept up in this crackdown. On April 18, Right to Life of Michigan staff discovered that our advertising account had been shut down without notice for “policy violations.”
We asked Facebook to provide more details on the suspension. The next day, Facebook staff sent what appeared to be an automated response stating on April 19, “your account was disabled for running misleading ads that resulted in high negative feedback from people on Facebook.” The response continued, stating that, “For this reason, if any of your ads have been removed or your ad account has been disabled, we will be unable to reactivate either. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.”
A follow-up e-mail asking for specific details on which ads were misleading received a response 12 minutes later stating, “After careful review, I’ve determined that we’re unable to take further action regarding this matter.” Was there really a “careful review” of our ads that were deemed misleading? Was this even a response typed out by an actual human being?
A complaint filed with the Better Business Bureau on April 19 received a response on April 27, with Facebook stating that we had an open ticket and to please respond through it. That would be the ticket they closed after 12 or so minutes of “careful review” a week prior. Another follow-up through the BBB asking to speak with a real human being was met with another form response suggesting we should find help in their help center: a help center where you get further automated form responses.
Have Right to Life of Michigan advertisements been receiving high negative feedback? Facebook won’t tell us what qualifies, so you be the judge. In the last 12 months Right to Life of Michigan has run 10 advertisements, with Facebook reporting the ads as reaching 233,602 people. Only 103 people selected an option to hide our posts, and only one person filed a spam report. This is a negative feedback rate of only 0.04 percent.
Compare that to Facebook’s 2016 customer satisfaction scores according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index. Facebook has a negative feedback rate of 32 percent, 800 times that of our ads. Perhaps it’s because of the irony that the flagship for “social” media is unable to generate human responses to even paying customers.
In the absence of a real human response, Right to Life of Michigan is forced to conclude that it was our most recent ad—run a week before we noticed our ad account suspension—that drew the ire of Facebook.