Bradenton, FL – Facebook has repeatedly rejected a Florida distillery’s attempts to promote it’s “Back the Blue” fundraising event through paid advertising, according to the business.
Loaded Cannon Distillery said it will soon be unveiling a five-bottle series honoring first responders, including nurses, firefighters, emergency medical personnel, and law enforcement officers, KTVT reported.
The colors on each of the “Lost Legends” bottles corresponds with a specific first responder group.
During an interview with FOX & Friends on Monday, Loaded Cannon Distillery Marketing and Creative Director Michelle Russell explained that the distillery wanted to do something special as a show of support and appreciation for the community’s first responders.
“We’re launching this Lost Legend series because they are legends. All of them,” Russell said. “First responders, EMTs, police, firefighters, anybody that wears a badge, and they deserve some recognition.”
The distillery decided to hold a “Back the Blue New Spirits Launch” on May 29 to raise money for Supporters of Law Enforcement (SOLE), a nonprofit organization, KTVT reported.
In fact, nearly all proceeds made from the Lost Legends sales that day will be donated to the nonprofit group, the distillery said.
Two percent of each sale will be donated back to whichever first responder group the corresponding bottle was designed to honor. “It helps raise money for people in law enforcement that need this extra help, this little push to help them get through hard times,” Russell explained.
But when she went to Facebook to promote the pro-police event through paid advertising, Russell said her attempts were repeatedly rejected by the social media platform, KTVT reported.
“First one April 20th, rejected; 28th, rejected; 5th rejected,” she said. “The Blue Line flag attempt, it was definitely denied.”
Russell said she tried using different versions of the ad, but that they have been kicked back to her “every single time,” KTVT reported.
According to a message she received from Facebook, the $200 ads “may have been rejected if it mentions politicians or sensitive social issues that could influence public opinion, how people vote and may impact the outcome of an election or pending legislation.”
Russell said the distillery’s “Back the Blue” event is not an attempt to push any political agendas, KTVT reported.
“I’m just trying to show our support for how much they’ve done for us that they deserve some recognition,” she said. “It is very disheartening because the police do so much for us.”
The distillery has advertised the event on its Facebook page, but without the paid Facebook ads, word of the fundraiser likely won’t reach as many people as it could have.
“I’m not really sure how to move forward, other than to do it old school and print flyers and go door to door and let everybody know we are here in this community and we support every first responder,” Russell told KTVT.
Police Tribune Editor-in-Chief Christopher Berg has extensive experience running Facebook ads and says that this kind of rejection from Facebook is the new normal.
“It’s a bit of an overreaction to Russia promoting ads about social issues in the U.S.,” Berg explained. “Russia promoted thousands of ads pushing Black Lives Matter, and then they had one ad to generate ‘likes’ for a ‘Back The Blue’ type page. It’s a bit odd, because Russia never really promoted anything in that page besides the page itself, while they simultaneously pushed hard on the Black Lives Matter messaging.”
“When this all came out, Facebook decided that only Americans in America who had verified their identity with Facebook can run ads related to ‘social issues,’ and the ownership of the page needs to be verified as well,” Berg continued. “In this case, the name of the product is likely triggering Facebook’s moderation algorithm, and Facebook notoriously has the absolute worst customer service among all social media sites so it’s unlikely to be corrected.”
The free event will take place from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. on Saturday at Loaded Cannon Distillery on Lakewood Ranch Boulevard.
The family-friendly “Back the Blue” event will also feature live music, vendors, food trucks, and free Loaded Cannon drink samples, FOX News reported.
Facebook has not responded to requests for comment on the ad rejections, according to multiple news outlets.