Facebook has been caught censoring the words “I’m Matt Caldwell. I like guns” in an ad for a candidate for Florida agriculture commissioner, but the social-media company retreated after the story started gaining online attention.
“I’m Matt Caldwell. I like guns. I love the Second Amendment, and I support our president,” Caldwell said in the 15-second spot. “That’s why I’m endorsed by the NRA.”
Fox News reported the short ad was blocked by Facebook as soon as it was posted.
But Facebook later “admitted it mistakenly” blocked the ad by the Florida Republican, the report said.
The initial message from Facebook to Caldwell was: “Not Approved: Your ad can’t promote the sale of weapons or ammunition.”
The candidate’s video depicted him shooting a shotgun and talking about his National Rifle Association endorsement, Fox News reported.
He responded to the “censorship regime.”
“Facebook’s liberal agenda is keeping our campaign for Commissioner of Agriculture from sharing our message,” he said in a statement. “Facebook has mislabeled our ad in an effort to censor our pro-Second Amendment support and endorsement from the NRA.”
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However, Facebook soon retreated.
“We review millions of ads each week and sometimes we make mistakes,” a spokeman told the Tampa Bay Times. “We have overturned the incorrect decision and the ads are now running live on Facebook.”
NBC News said Facebook originally claimed he was waving a gun and promoting its sale.
NBC asked political adviser Terry Miller whether the ad would be considered offensive.
“The folks who would be offended by a message like this probably are people who are not going to be voting in a Republican primary,” Miller said.
Florida Politics reported Caldwell sent a message directly to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg
“The U.S. Constitution could not be clearer: Our Second Amendment rights are inalienable,” he wrote. “These God-given rights were enshrined in the Constitution by our Founding Fathers and Facebook’s censorship regime cannot get away with waging a war against conservative ideals and our pro-liberty message.”