If Facebook Were Selling Tires, They’d be Shut Down for Selling Defective Products

I don’t have a problem with billionaires. Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, is worth over $100 billion. Good for him. But I do have a problem when someone worth $100 billion who runs a company that provides about the worst customer service on the planet.

I am an author and two of my books relate to careers. One is on more effectively managing your career and making better career decisions. The other book is on how to perform better during a job interview. Recently the guy who built my website said to me, “Mike, you should be advertising your books on Facebook.”

That sounded like a great idea. I have a Facebook page called “ProfessorManahan” where I post articles I write so I went into that page to begin placing ads. When I opened Ad Manager it informed me that I could boost my posts. This sounded easier than creating ads from scratch, as many of my posts are about topics covered in my books, so I chose to boost one of the articles I had previously posted. That article was about the challenges in dealing with credit reporting agencies. A few days after the ad began to run, it was rejected. The reason given was “This ad can’t run because it appears to be for a credit opportunity and isn’t identified as being in a Special Ad Category.” Sounds good – except the ad was not about any credit opportunity. It was simply an article about how difficult it can be dealing with the complexities and ambiguities of credit reporting agencies.

I am not one for giving up so I thought rather than promoting a post, I will just write two ads for each of my career-oriented books. I wrote those ads and both ads were rejected. Both ads were rejected because according to Facebook “This ad isn’t running because it doesn’t follow our Advertising Policies. We don’t allow ads that promote unclear, misleading, “work from home”, MLM, get-rich-quick, or deceptive employment opportunities.” Well, my books are not about get-rich-quick schemes or MLM. They are about interview skills and career management. So, I requested a review. Both ads were again rejected with no explanation above that already provided.

Not to be stumped by Facebook, I decided I would try to boost another post. As I work with entrepreneurs who are trying to raise money, I had published an article covering three questions that you should be able to answer from possible investors. That boost was rejected. Same reason. According to Facebook, it was a MLM scheme.

At this point I figured it was time to reach out for help, so I scheduled a call with Facebook. I spoke with a very nice gentleman who reviewed my account and my ads. After spending an hour on the phone with him, and him going through my ads and my account, he said that he could not figure out why my ads were flagged, other than reciting to me the “MLM and get-rich-quick schemes” even though he completely agreed that my ads should not have been rejected. He did review my ads and mentioned that I written a lot of copy in my ads. I reviewed the ad for one of my books and I did include a lot of ad copy. Maybe that was the problem. So, I wrote two new ads. Those ads are as follows:

Ad One: “Want to get that job? Learn how to master the interview. Download a free chapter from my book today.”

Ad Two: “Learn how to earn more money and get better jobs by effectively managing your career. Download a free chapter from my book today.”

Both ads were accompanied by a picture of the front cover of the book relating to the ad.

Both ads were rejected, again with the MLM get-rich-quick excuse.

Frustrated, I scheduled another call with Facebook. The person I spoke with this time said my ads looked fine, and that she would request a review of the ads. She sent me a follow up email and then I received another email from Facebook asking about the ads I wanted reviewed. Annoyingly enough the email said the following: “I will be waiting for your response. Please note that if you do not reply to this email in 6 hours, the system will automatically close the case.” Of course, I have nothing better to do that to make sure Facebook gets a response in six hours. What if I was traveling that day?

Anyway, I responded to the email. The next day (not six hours) I receive the following response: “I had requested for the review for your ads. The ad 23849062400370693 was not approved. I have checked your other ads, and this should have similar reasons. Please kindly note that Facebook does not share the exact policy violation. However, my personal experience says that the algorithm associates these wordings with MLM schemes and we should refrain from using phrases that can sound like promises of getting rich quick.”

Wow. So helpful. Back to the MLM and get-rich-quick schemes. Who is performing these ad reviews? And apparently there is no one (at least that I can find) who I can talk to who can give me any specifics about why my ads are rejected, why they think my ads are MLM or get-rich-quick schemes or what I can do to fix my ads.

I tried again. I wrote two new ads, as follows:

Ad #1: I wrote a book on how to improve your job interview skills. You can download a free chapter from my website.

Ad #2: I wrote a book on how to better manage your career. Download a free chapter from my website.

Both ads included a picture of me. Nothing more. Both ads were rejected.

And Mark Zuckerberg is worth over $100 billion. Suddenly I have a problem with that. Why doesn’t he take let’s say $500,000 million of that and fix his customer service?

A colleague mentioned something to me. He said, “Mike, some of your articles are anti-big government and some are of critical of government policy. I’ll bet Facebook has flagged your account. That’s why you can’t run ads.” Obviously, there is no way for me to tell if that is true but based on the revelations we’ve had about Facebook recently, it certainly seems possible. And extraordinarily wrong.

I am just one small author with three small books and in the scheme of things, my issue is insignificant (to Facebook anyway). But then I got to thinking – this same company that thinks my books are MLM and get-rich-quick schemes, even after multiple reviews, is also making decisions about the content that politicians, activists, opinion leaders and terrorists are putting on the site. Wow. Scary. I am all about free enterprise and capitalism, but we wouldn’t let a tire company sell defectives tires for long. Why are we letting Facebook sell a defective information and social media service?