Many people didn’t know about the ability to register, however, and still others told the Post that registering as political felt “dishonest to their organization’s mission.” More than anything, many questioned the legitimacy of defining LGBTQ content as political in the first place, considering this is a question of identity rather than policy. Facebook policies do outline why ads related to tense political topics like gun rights and abortion sometimes get flagged, but the list does not include LGBTQ-related ads. Considering Facebook’s prior issues with security—like the massive data breach that recently led to a lawsuit—many users are hesitant to share any private information on the platform. In response to questions from the Post, Facebook said that the majority of the LGBTQ ads were blocked in error, but did not say why they were flagged in the first place.
Facebook has been struggling to respond appropriately to the way the platform was used against the American voter in the 2016 presidential election when Russian interference led to false advertisements aimed at sowing discord among the populace. Facebook has struggled to find the proper approach to regulating the information that appears on its service, from personal posts to ads and company pages.
There are few other options providing as large a potential audience as Facebook, which limits many companies from branching out to other social media platforms, despite irritation and discomfort. And despite its history of LGBTQ-friendly actions—it even supported the legalization of same-sex marriage in 2015—this new move by Facebook is seeing more groups reviewing their options.