Facebook rejects advert celebrating lesbian wedding because apparently LGBT+ rights are a ‘social issue’

Facebook bans advert celebrating lesbian marriage because of 'politics'

Facebook has rejected an advert that celebrated a same-sex wedding during the first-ever Lesbian Visibility Week because of rules around “social issues, elections or politics”.

The advert was posted by the Peter Tatchell Foundation, a human-rights charity, and celebrated unconventional ways that lesbian couples were marrying during the coronavirus lockdown.

It promoted a Diva story about a lesbian couple who got married in the middle of the street during a city-wide coronavirus lockdown, calling it a “novel way to marry”.

But Facebook disabled the advert — which ran for 48 hours before being taken down — because it “mentions politicians, topics that could influence the outcome of an election, or existing or proposed legislation”.

Peter Tatchell, the director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation who was one of the leading members of the Gay Liberation Front in the early 1970s, said the advert “did none of these things”.

“The advert was innocuous and Facebook has now categorised it alongside Russian troll factories that sought to influence the Brexit vote and US presidential elections,” he said.

Lesbian Visibility Week does not target politicians or issues that could influence election outcomes.

The advert promoted an edition of the Peter Tatchell newsletter guest-edited by Linda Riley, publisher of lesbian and bisexual women’s magazine Diva, which first reported Facebook’s decision.

The wedding story was framed as a piece of good news against the backdrop of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic, and followed two women in New York who were due to get married in October, but decided to get their marriage license early as the chances of their wedding happening seemed slim.

As social-distancing measures grew ever-tighter, the couple realised that even marrying in a registry office had become off-limits and decided to get married by one of their friends, in the street, with their neighbours watching — in an adorable makeshift ceremony that they described as “magic”.

Facebook disabled the advert because it considers same-sex marriage a social issue.

A company spokesperson said: “The advert run by the Peter Tatchell Foundation was disabled by Facebook because the page is not authorised to run social issues ads. 

“Ads about social issues, elections or politics that appear on our platforms need to be authorised in advance and the ads should include a disclaimer.

“We’re working with the advertiser to help them register their page to run social issue ads and better understand our policies and correctly labelling ads in the future.”

The Peter Tatchell Foundation said it has still been charged for the ad, which went live on 23 April during the second half of the inaugural Lesbian Visibility Week.

Tatchell added: “We are angry that our attempt to support the lesbian community has been sabotaged.

“It highlights why Lesbian Visibility Week is needed. None of our other human rights adverts have been blocked.

“It is a non-party political and is a fantastic human rights initiative.”

Lesbian Visibility Week, which both celebrated lesbian women and highlighted the issues that the community faces, culminated in the annual Lesbian Visibility Day on April 26.

Facebook has been contacted by PinkNews for further comment.