To what extent can you trust Big Tech to invest in advertising for your new business? It’s a question you should ask yourself before you pay, especially if your business is in any way related to conservatism.
Heroes of Liberty, a children’s publisher that publishes biographical books on historical and contemporary American figures, such as Thomas Sowell, Amy Coney Barrett, and former President Ronald Reagan, almost got a bad deal by investing a large part of its initial capital in building its “brand on Facebook” after its ad account on the platform was suspended.
“My new children’s book publishing company, Heroes of Liberty, was dealt a real blow going into the New Year, when we were banned by Facebook. We’re a new literary start-up that publishes quality illustrated biographies of great Americans,” said Bethany Mandel, the company’s publisher and board member, wrote on Twitter.
According to Fox Business, Heroes of Liberty invested in Facebook advertising, and the platform itself canceled the publisher’s ad account on December 23, labeling its content as “low quality or disruptive.”
Heroes of Liberty proceeded to appeal Facebook’s decision, but the platform’s ruling was even worse, permanently canceling the publisher’s account in early January. According to Facebook, this was a “final decision.”
“We began investing in Facebook four months before we launched our first book,” Mandel told FOX Business. “We invested most of our marketing budget on the platform, and now our budget (the money we’ve already spent), as well as our assets and data are gone. Marketing-wise we are back in square one, financially it’s even more challenging.”
According to Mandel, Heroes of Liberty’s problems with Facebook began when a minority group of users started posting messages against the publisher for promoting Reagan, Coney Barrett and Sowell as American heroes, “people we called Heroes of Liberty,” the publisher told FOX Business. “They made nasty comments, especially about Reagan, and about us for publishing these books and even shared their desire to burn them.”
Mandel insisted that the children’s publisher is not in the political battleground and is simply in the business of promoting American values. Ultimately, Facebook was not a move against conservatism, but against America’s own history and values, the publisher explained.
Harsh criticism “revived” Heroes of Liberty account
After the permanent block against the children’s publisher was revealed, thousands of users on Twitter began to charge back at Facebook, accusing the platform of going against a small business for simply promoting historically conservative figures.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said, “When conservatives start independent publishing outlets and platforms, Big Tech companies like Facebook now work to destroy them. This latest example is particularly galling.”
Criticism against Facebook prompted the platform to revise its ruling from a “final decision” to a “mistake” that should never have happened, as written by Meta spokesman Andy Stone.
However, neither Meta nor Facebook have provided details on how the suspension happened and what they would do to correct the error. In fact, Mandel said on Twitter that the platform “several people and several members of Congress that we’ve been reinstated” but never notified the Heroes of Liberty publisher. “Our account looks restored, for now. We’d like to be reassured it was a mistake and that we can safely invest there.”
Even after the ad account was reinstated, several users continued to harshly criticize Facebook for the “error.”
Novelist Frank J. Fleming, for example, tweeted, “So when they say ‘This is our final decision’ they mean ‘This is our final decision unless you can cause a large enough outcry to force us to review it again.'”
At least for today, a newly born patriotic, pro-American-values, patriotic publisher was able to survive the hostility of Big Tech thanks to the complaints of the users themselves. Heroes of Liberty definitely won this round, taking back its account and making a name for itself in the conservative world.