Facebook rejects Florida police charity's ad for children fundraiser in 'mind-boggling' decision

Organizer tells 'Fox & Friends First' Facebook would not allow boosting of ad for charity event

The president of a pro-police nonprofit organization in South Florida slammed Facebook on Thursday over its "mind-boggling" decision to block an advertisement for an upcoming fundraising event intended to benefit the families of officers who died in the line of duty and children in underserved communities. 

"I can’t even understand why they would do that," Officer Chris Swinson, president of the Southeast Police Motorcycle Rodeo Committee, told "Fox & Friends First" on Thursday. 

Swinson, president of the Southeast Police Motorcycle Rodeo Committee, said that Facebook blocked a post advertising ticket sales for an upcoming raffle of a Harley Davidson motorcycle during a law-enforcement training event, which is open to the public. The raffle happens annually to correspond with an in-person motorcycle event. However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the nonprofit is now more heavily relying on online ticket sales this year. 

One of the beneficiaries of the proceeds from the raffle is the Boys & Girls Club, Swinson noted. 

"Like many other years we have put out a post promoting our raffle using the social media outlets Facebook and Instagram, and we posted a raffle for the motorcycle and then within days tried to boost it in order to promote our raffle, and we got the rejection. So it was a surprise to us," Swinson told host Jillian Mele on Thursday. 

Facebook rejected the ad on July 14, according to screenshots provided to Fox News. The Southeast Police Motorcycle Rodeo Committee filed an appeal on July 20 and the social media giant replied with a message that said, "Your ad may have been rejected because it mentions politicians or is about sensitive social issues that could influence public opinion, how people vote and may impact the outcome of an election or pending legislation."

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Swinson said he "can’t even imagine" why Facebook would reject the ad, especially given "the fact that law enforcement officers around the country get together during a training [and] raise money for these charities in order to go purchase much-needed supplies." 

"At the end of the day what we’re trying to do is raise funds for children in our community who we feel are the future of our community," he added. "We have a vested interest in the community, especially youth, and that’s our focus." 

Swinson stressed that the organization does not promote political views or opinions and their posts on social media are "strictly for our causes." 

Facebook told Fox News on Tuesday that the ad was rejected in error – though did not provide a date for when it would be corrected. 

"This ad was incorrectly flagged as political and taken down for running without a disclaimer, so we have reversed that decision," a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement. "Our enforcement is never perfect since machines and human reviewers make mistakes, but we're always working to improve."

In response to Facebook’s statement, Swinson told Fox News he would "love to just move on from it," but "unfortunately" he understood that Facebook doesn’t know the timeline in which they’re going to reinstate the post. 

"Our event is fast approaching at the end of September," he noted. "If their [Facebook’s] decision to reverse that lock happens in October it really doesn’t do anything for us." 

The whole ordeal, Swinson added, has been "a little bit disheartening because it has taken away time that we needed to get the available resources."

Proceeds from the raffle are intended to benefit charities, including The Boys and Girls Club of Broward County and C.O.P.S. (Concerns for Police Survivors), which is dedicated to helping families who have lost loved ones in the line of duty. The organization assists families financially, facilitates mental health services, and runs camps for children of officers who have died in the line of duty. 

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Swinson on Thursday encouraged those who would like to help to visit southeastpolice.com.

Fox News’ Danielle Wallace contributed to this report.