Facebook admitted it mistakenly blocked a Florida Republican's pro-gun ad from the social media platform and reversed course.
State Rep. Matt Caldwell said he received the message, “Not Approved: Your ad can’t promote the sale of weapons or ammunition,” from Facebook when he attempted to share an ad that depicted him shooting a shotgun and touting his endorsement by the National Rifle Association, the Tampa Bay Times reported.
Caldwell, a Republican, is running for Florida agriculture commissioner.
“I’m Matt Caldwell. I like guns. I love the Second Amendment, and I support our president,” Caldwell says in the 15-second spot. “That’s why I’m endorsed by the NRA.”
Caldwell blasted Facebook’s initial denial of the ad, calling the social media giant a “censorship regime.”
“Facebook’s liberal agenda is keeping our campaign for Commissioner of Agriculture from sharing our message,” Caldwell said in a statement. “Facebook has mislabeled our ad in an effort to censor our pro-Second Amendment support and endorsement from the NRA.”
Facebook’s advertising policy states that ads cannot “promote the sale or use of weapons, ammunition, or explosives.”
By Tuesday evening, Facebook had reversed the decision and issued an apology.
“We review millions of ads each week and sometimes we make mistakes,” a spokesperson told the Tampa Bay Times. “We have overturned the incorrect decision and the ads are now running live on Facebook.”
Caldwell’s Facebook page does prominently feature the video.
Still, Caldwell told the News-Press, “Just the mere fact that you have a gun, I don’t think should flag any kind of ad.”
Caldwell faces state Sen. Denise Grimsley, former state Rep. Baxter Troutman and Mike McCalister in the GOP August primary. He’s been endorsed by Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.
Florida’s current agriculture commissioner, Adam Putnam, is battling Rep. Ron DeSantis for the Republican nomination for governor.