A Facebook post promoting a competition for traditional Mardi Gras cakes fell foul of the social network’s censors, according to the contest’s bewildered organizers.
King cakes are a traditional bakery treat in New Orleans during Mardi Gras. The doughy dessert bread — often flavored with a ring of cinnamon or stuffed with fillings — generally comes shaped in a ring and is decorated with the New Orleans Mardi Gras colors of purple, green and gold. A small plastic baby, symbolizing baby Jesus, is traditionally hidden inside the cakes.
King Cake Snob, a website that lets users review and vote for their favorite cakes, says that it was prevented from using the social network’s paid tools to “boost” a recent Facebook post to promote the competition. On Wednesday Facebook told Fox News that it is now allowing the ad to run on the social network.
“We're back baby! King Cake season is here, and it's time to go vote for your favorite King Cake at KingCakeSnob.com” King Cake Snob wrote, in last week's Facebook post, which was accompanied by an image of the plastic babies.
The ad’s plastic babies initially proved to be too risqué for Facebook, according to King Cake Snob. In a notice, Facebook told the website that the ad “isn’t running because it includes an image or video depicting excessive skin or nudity, which includes medical diagrams depicting external organs of reproduction, breasts or butt. This kind of material is sensitive in nature."
“Facebook wants to ban you from looking at a King Cake baby! They denied our ad because of excessive plastic King Cake baby nudity. Who thinks these social media morons need a little Mardi Gras in their lives?” the website added, in a subsequent Facebook post.
“The controversy is that Facebook won't allow us to pay to "boost" the post, not us posting organically on our page,” the website explained on Facebook.
King Cake Snob notes that the king cake baby is a longstanding Mardi Gras tradition. In addition to symbolizing baby Jesus, the babies also represent luck and prosperity for the person who finds them in the cake. “Whoever finds the baby is traditionally responsible for purchasing the next king cake,” explains the website, in a statement.
Over 150 bakeries are listed on the King Cake Snob site.
A spokesman for Innovative Advertising told Fox News that, after the initial ad was denied, they sent a manual review and a message clarifying the imagery. A member of the Facebook Ads team responded with a similar message to the original denial, according to the spokesman.
"Next, we tried to have some fun with the situation by boosting a post featuring plastic king cake babies with the 'suggestive' areas pixelated, accompanied by the words 'We're back baby, CENSORED'," said the spokesman. "This pixelated post was also denied by Facebook, again for 'excessive nudity'."
“We took another look at this ad and it's clear the King Cake baby does not violate the spirit of our policy," a Facebook spokesperson told Fox News, in an emailed statement on Wednesday. "We've overturned the ad so it can run on Facebook.”
Last year, the social network was slammed by the Wes Cook band after it prevented the country group from using Facebook’s paid tools to promote its song "I Stand for the Flag." Facebook subsequently said that it had made an error.
The Associated Press contributed to this article. Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers