- The Washington Times
Thursday, April 18, 2019

Facebook has come under fire from a conservative activist who accused the social network of censoring video footage of his speech slamming socialism.

Justin Haskins, executive editor of The Heartland Institute think tank, took aim at Facebook in an op-ed published Wednesday for allegedly preventing him from purchasing an advertisement featuring his anti-socialism speech.

Mr. Haskins wrote that he successfully shared a video of the speech in February to a Facebook page titled Stopping Socialism, but subsequently encountered problems when he tried to pay to boost the post.

“The ad ran without any trouble,” Mr. Haskinswrote for Fox News. “But later that week, my Facebook advertising account was suddenly and without explanation permanently disabled, something that has never occurred before.

“Facebook’s advertising team wrote back to me and indicated that the decision to ban my advertising account was correct, because, ‘We don’t support ads for your business model’ — presumably referring to StoppingSocialism.com and my other conservative Facebook pages — and because some of my posts ‘don’t follow our Advertising Policies,’” he wrote.

Mr. Haskins, the author of books including “Socialism Is Evil,” said he unsuccessfully appealed the ban several times before being told that his advertising privileges had been disabled for running “misleading ads.”

“Facebook continues to refuse to explain exactly what it is about the socialism video that warrants banning me from ever advertising on the platform again, but based on the little information Facebook has provided, the answer seems obvious: StoppingSocialism.com’s mission doesn’t comply with Facebook’s commitment to left-wing policies, and Facebook would rather kowtow to the liberal mob than operate a platform that supports free political expression,” Mr. Haskins wrote.

Facebook did not immediately return a request for comment. The company last year announced new policies prohibiting ads considered misleading or deceptive, and a public policy director for the social network denied censoring political speech as recently as last week during a hearing on Capitol Hill.

Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on April 10, Facebook’s Neil Potts said the company “does not favor one political viewpoint over another, nor does Facebook suppress conservative speech.”

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