DOes Facebook, the social media giant once dubbed “Iron FistBook” by cartoonist A.F. Branco, have a problem honoring brave police officers? That’s the question many are now asking after the company rejected an ad honoring a brave officer who was named the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police (ILACP) “Most Outstanding Law Enforcement Officer of the Year.”
The group said in a press release that it is “flabbergasted that Facebook has blocked its attempt to promote its Officer of the Year, Patrolman Jeffrey Bieber of the East Peoria Police Department.”
The press release adds:
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The Illinois Chiefs announced its selection of Officer Bieber last week and posted the announcement on Facebook. Thousands of people were engaging with the congratulatory post about this brave officer, and the Illinois Chiefs attempted to pay the small fee to Facebook to help more people see the post.
But Facebook rejected the ad, saying that the post violated Facebook’s advertising policy. “That seemed ridiculous to us,” said ILACP Executive Director Ed Wojcicki. So our PR Committee chair, Deputy Chief Andy Johnson of the Hanover Park Police Department, politely appealed to Facebook and asked for a review of its decision.
After promising a manual review, Facebook rejected the ad again, stating:
“This ad content has been correctly disapproved for violation of Facebook Advertising Policies and Guidelines. As per policy: Your ad may have been rejected because it mentions politicians or is about sensitive social issues that could influence public opinion, how people vote and may impact the outcome of an election or pending legislation. Our policy for running ads related to politics requires you to get authorized first by confirming your identity and creating a disclaimer that lists who is paying for the ads.”
“The way we see it,” Wojcicki said, “is Facebook thinks it’s wrong to honor a brave police officer who suffered serious wounds while protecting his central Illinois city. How is that remotely political? Facebook must not realize that many police officers endure severe physical and verbal abuse on a daily basis. Our recognition of Officer Bieber is designed to honor an officer who made a great personal sacrifice and to help Americans understand and appreciate the sacrifices that many officers make. We’d like Facebook to understand that by hearing from supporters of this officer and the thousands of good officers in our ranks.”
He added: “Our press released mentioned no politicians and has nothing to do with any election or pending legislation. For Facebook to suggest that seems like a huge stretch and could be a signal that it wants to block good news about police. All we were doing is honoring a brave officer.”
Chief Mitchell R. Davis III, president of the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police, discussed Facebook’s actions with Fox News on Monday:
The organization has also started a change.org petition asking the site to reverse its decision and allow the ad. As of this writing, just under 2,500 people have signed.
Facebook is one of the companies facing a massive class-action lawsuit started by former President Donald Trump for its censorship.
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