I have written a couple of books about sex. Last Christmas, I wanted to advertise on Facebook for my first book, Sex after 50. I had done that a year before and sold a good deal, and I wanted to repeat the success.
Things didn’t really turn out as expected. This is what happened, in a slightly dramatized version:
I start the proces.
– Dear Facebook, I would like to buy an ad for my book.
Facebook answers as promptly as any energetic seller would.
– Of course. Thanks for reaching out! Who would you like to target?
– Men and women over 35. In Denmark. And, well, let’s include Norway too.
– That’s awesome! And what’s your budget? 539 kr (about §90) a day?
– Hm. That’s a little more than I had in mind. Let’s say 50 kr a day for 10 days.
– OK then. Well, it may generate a few clicks, of course. We’re here to help you promote your homepage and sell your book! What’s the title?
– It’s “Sex after 50”.
A little red light starts blinking on the screen.
– Your promotion may not be accepted. Please read our Advertising Policies.
I click on the link and read. It says:
Ads are not allowed to promote sale or use of adult products or -services, except for family planning and contraception. Ads for contraception must focus on the contraceptive properties of the product and not on sexual pleasure or performance-enhancing effect, and they must be targeted people over 18.
A little later, I receive a mail from the censorship department at Facebook.
– Your ad has not been approved. There is adult content, which is forbidden.
– Oh come on Facebook, that is a misunderstanding! My book is very decent, there are no pictures, no porn, nothing that can embarrass or offend anyone. I would like to appeal your decision.
I wait. After a day or so, I get another mail.
Thanks for contacting us.
Your ad has not been approved because the web address used in the ad does not comply with our policy about adult products.
We do not allow ads that promote or suggest any kind of sexual acts. This kind of ads result in negative emotions in our users, and we have zero tolerance to these advertisements. This policy also includes ads targeted to people over 18.
This decision is final, and further mails will not be answered.
The double standards of Facebook
I don’t know what’s the most appropriate reaction – laughing or crying? Feeling offended, or maybe proud to have stepped on the toes of the prissy American double standards? My book is an adult product promoting sexual pleasure. Shame on me (and everybody else who enjoys sex)!
So. Facebook supports the viewpoint that sex is for having babies, not for fun, wellness, closeness, intimacy… and so on.
So. You can advertise for contraceptives, but not for pleasure.
But wait… If you use contraception, you’re doing it for fun, pleasure and all the good feelings, right? And not for having babies?
Dear Mark Zuckerberg, please send me your address, and I will send you a copy of my book, completely free of charge. It’s called Sex after 50, and even if there are still some years left until your 50th birthday, I have a feeling that it would be a really good idea that you start preparing now. You see, people over 50 have sex for feeling good. Not for having babies.