Pennsylvania sporting goods store, Facebook clash over nixing of ads due to promotion of gun sales

The Sportsman’s Shop in East Earl, Pa., says it can no longer advertise products like American flags or outdoor clothing on Facebook because its Facebook page promotes the sales of guns and includes links that lead to the same, according to reports.

The Lancaster County store, which has been in operation since 1954, specializes in sport shooting, hunting, archery, fishing and other similar outdoors activities. According to reports, the store had long advertised via Facebook’s marketing platform, with no issues, until one day noticing that advertisements promoting the sale of American flags were not showing up. After that, the store noticed that it had no Facebook advertising capabilities at all, the report said.

After numerous attempts to reach Facebook, Jessica Keffer, marketing manager at the store, said she was finally able to get some answers. According to Facebook’s ad policies, “Ads must not promote the sale or use of weapons, ammunition, or explosives.” According to the report, examples of what’s acceptable include language like “Gun exposition today” or “blogs or groups connecting people with weapon-related interests, as long as the service doesn’t lead to the sale of these products.”

The report went on to say that posts with captions “Cheap firearms: Buy now” and “weapons of any kind, including pepper spray, knives, tasers, or weapons intended for self-defense,” aren’t allowed, according to Facebook’s rules.

But the American flag sale promotion didn’t contain any such content.

“Your ad may not be approved if the landing page content isn’t fully functional, doesn’t match the product/service promoted in your ad or doesn’t fully comply with our Advertising Policies,” a subsection of the ad policy reads.

So, according to reports, due to the fact that the store’s Facebook page — as well as its hyperlinked website embedded into that page — is filled with content promoting the sales of guns and showing in-house firearm training, the store could no longer advertise at all.

“We are very frustrated with Facebook’s ad policies,” Keffer told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “Like any business, we want to grow our reach and attract new customers, and when you are restricted from promoting your product on a very visible platform, it is a huge disservice. Advertising is crucial to any business. Reaching new customers and attracting new clients is imperative to our success.”

 

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