skip to Main Content
Facebook Removes Business’s US Flag Ads Because They Sell Guns

Facebook Removes Business’s US Flag Ads Because They Sell Guns

By Eric Lieberman

The Sportsman’s Shop, a small town business that has been in operation since 1954, says it can no longer advertise products like American flags or outdoor clothing on Facebook because it’s Facebook page promotes the sales of guns, and includes links that lead to the same.

Located in East Earl, Pa., part of Lancaster County, the store specializes in sport shooting, hunting, archery, fishing and other similar open-air activities. Like many businesses both big and small, The Sportsman’s Shop depends on digital advertising, particularly on social media platforms, to broadcast their offerings. It was for a long time permitted to use the full capabilities of Facebook’s marketing platform, until one day staff at the Pennsylvania store no longer saw one of their advertisements promoting the sale of American flags.

A screenshot of the advertisement on Facebook, including statistics.

Perplexed by the disappearance of the ad, Jessica Keffer, the marketing manager at the Sportsman’s Shop, reached out to Facebook to see if an error or glitch had occurred.

“Facebook is a great tool. We have found it widely successful with our customers,” Keffer told The Daily Caller News Foundation, adding that’s why she was so anxious to find out what had happened.

After some allegedly insufficient responses from Facebook, Keffer said she later realized all of her advertisement capabilities that she was usually afforded were suddenly unavailable.

“This was very confusing and frustrating,” Keffer said. She contacted Facebook once again, but this time Facebook had an answer for Keffer.

A Facebook employee pointed her to the Prohibited Content section, that is part of its official Ad Policies.

“Ads must not promote the sale or use of weapons, ammunition, or explosives,” one of the subsections reads.

Enumerated examples of what’s acceptable include: language like “Gun exposition today!” or “blogs or groups connecting people with weapon-related interests, as long as the service doesn’t lead to the sale of these products.”

Posts with captions “Cheap firearms: Buy now!” and “weapons of any kind, including pepper spray, knives, tasers, or weapons intended for self-defense,” aren’t allowed, according to Facebook’s rules.

But the American flag sale promotion, which was purposefully removed, didn’t contain any such content; it’s a benign ad for a benign, patriotic product. And why would one post cost the shop all of its Facebook-granted ad functions?

Keffer said she was told it’s due to their Facebook page, which also incorporated a link to their own website, not the particular American flag advertisement.

TheDCNF corresponded with representatives at Facebook, who among other details, highlighted their “Ad Review Process.”

“During the ad review process, we’ll check your ad’s images, text, targeting, and positioning, in addition to the content on your ad’s landing page,” the subsection “What We Consider” reads. “Your ad may not be approved if the landing page content isn’t fully functional, doesn’t match the product/service promoted in your ad or doesn’t fully comply with our Advertising Policies.”

In other words, in addition to the publicly posted rules, Facebook told TheDCNF that it evaluates the Facebook page in question, as well as where that page can lead to with any embedded links. Due to the fact that The Sportsman’s Shop’s Facebook page — as well as its hyperlinked website embedded into that page — is filled with content promoting the sales of guns and showing in-house firearm training, the store could no longer advertise altogether.

“We are very frustrated with Facebook’s ad policies,” said Keffer. “Like any business, we want to grow our reach and attract new customers and when you are restricted from promoting your product on a very visible platform it is a huge disservice. Advertising is crucial to any business. Reaching new customers and attracting new clients is imperative to our success.”

Keffer’s statements are especially true given the fact that she is surrounded by competition, some being relatively massive corporations like Cabela’s and Dick’s Sporting Goods, that have locations not too far from The Sportsman’s Shop’s single spot.

“We are just the little guy,” Keffer explained. “At the end of the day, we are simply trying to promote our product and our industry and our lawful and ethical business is under a microscope because of Facebook’s political and cultural bias.”

Also, the power and effect behind Facebook’s advertising platform is obvious. Facebook, along with Google, dominates the digital ad revenue market, showing that publishers of content — from businesses to nonprofits to agencies — almost need those two tech companies for promotional purposes.

TheDCNF reached out to Cabela’s media relations office multiple times to see if they also have the same problem as The Sportsman’s Shop, but the company failed to respond. A relatively quick probe of Cabela’s Facebook page shows that it does not include firearms and other weaponry. The company even seems like it goes out of its way to only post content that is related to outdoor activities like hunting, without violating Facebook’s policies.

The company does have a link to its website on the Facebook page, that contains the sales of guns.

So, too, does Dick’s Sporting Good’s.

TheDCNF specifically inquired about these two retail corporations. Facebook implied that it allows stores to promote, for example, a backpack, if they link to a site (or that link leads to another site) that doesn’t have weapons immediately accessible.

A visit to Dick’s Sporting Good’s and Cabela’s main websites seems to show that both have firearms and similar products available for purchase deeper within, though still not that hard to find.

When asked if she think’s it would be a good choice to remove all the firearms posts on its Facebook page, and also restructure its website to not prominently feature guns, Keffer sternly said “No.”

“I don’t think this would be a positive choice for us,” said Keffer. “Selling firearms is a huge part of our identity. I think eliminating the posts will have a negative impact on our interaction with customers. Even eliminating that information from our website will be removing a huge part of our identity.”

Facebook’s terms and conditions don’t seem fair to more than just Keffer.

“We find it troubling and irrational that Facebook would find as ‘inappropriate’ normal commercial speech by a federally licensed business engaged in the lawful commerce of advertising and selling hunting and sports shooting firearms which can only be sold to a law abiding citizen after a background check,” Lawrence G. Keane, senior vice president and general counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a trade association for the firearms and related industries, told TheDCNF. “Recently, the federal appellate court in San Francisco said the commercial sale and purchase of firearms is part and parcel of the right to keep and bear arms.”

Keffer says it’s especially disappointing because they actually train people to use firearms properly, so along with salesmen, they essentially are safety advocates.

Both Keffer and Keane argued that due to its enormous power, Facebook is now inherently “a virtual public square,” where freedom of speech should be expected, regardless of it’s clear classification as a private company.

“Facebook owes the public a higher duty not to discriminate against free speech especially when that censorship stifles the exercise of a fundamental protected right enshrined in the Constitution,” Keane continued.

Facebook has been accused of censorship many times before, as it constantly struggles to balance coinciding and opposing clamoring from all angles of society. Some worry that harassment and abuse has adulterated the platform and turned it into a vitriolic cesspool. Others say Facebook’s crusade to purge certain content and speech has unduly and unjustly led to the compromise of its free expression ethos.

In an exclusive story from TheDCNF, the Libertarian nonprofit The Atlas Society says its page on Instagram (which is owned by Facebook) was taken down with little to no explanation in an apparent act of censorship. Instagram refutes that it took down the account itself.

And there are more cases.

The Swedish Cancer Society was forced to change an instructional breast examination video by making the animated boobs square-shaped after Facebook censored its content.

Facebook apologized for the removal, saying “It’s team processes millions of advertising images each week, and in some instances we incorrectly prohibit ads.”

“This image does not violate our ad policies. We apologize for the error and have let the advertiser know we are approving their ads,” Facebook told The Guardian.

And there is the infamous alleged suppression of stories more likely to be interesting to conservative readers from a damning Gizmodo report in 2016. Positive liberal stories were subsequently bumped up higher from the partisan prioritizing.

“We take allegations of bias very seriously,” a Facebook spokesperson told TheDCNF at the time. “Facebook is a platform for people and perspectives from across the political spectrum.” (RELATED: Facebook Apologizes For Banning Tribute To Tiananmen Massacre)

In spite of Facebook’s contentions, Keffer thinks her particular business is being singled out, while Keane says the larger industry has had problems with what they both see as partial policies from Facebook.

“To restrict a business who is both operating legally and ethically just shows the tremendous bias,” said Keffer.

“We would welcome a dialogue with Facebook concerning its discrimination and censorship our industry,” said Keane. “But if Facebook will not rescind this troubling practice, then perhaps Congress should regulate social media platforms that discriminate as they would any other business that discriminates.”

Bipartisan suggestions for government regulation over companies like Facebook have been steadily growing. And regardless if that contentious argument is justifiable, palatable or doable, The Sportsman’s Shop may serve as more ammunition for certain protesters calling for bureaucratic oversight.

Follow Eric on Twitter
Send tips to
Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2017 Daily Caller News Foundation
Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact
This Post Has 4 Comments
  1. RankerX is the last word Search engine optimization Instrument you ever will need. It truly is fast, successful and very reliable. You are able to make thousands of accounts of authority Sites like, tumblr… and a lot of other platform Internet sites like Elgg, PHPFox and much more. We can easily put up to far more authority web sites than All those our competitors can COMBINED! Yet one more issue I forgot to mentioned. You can use RankerX from the PCs, Macs, your tablets, as well as your telephones! Offer breaker. You now can do Web optimization on the GO! Check here more info about RankerX

  2. The Positive Effects of Reiki on the Human Body

    Reiki is known for its results around the human body.

    However, many people of those who have never yet experienced its power know very well what exactly Reiki does
    and what its benefits are. If you are thinking about the way in which Reiki can help
    you, then continue reading and discover what Reiki are capable of doing for you, mind and soul.

    1. Increases our bodies’s capacity to heal itself. Normally, your body features a defense system which functions good as long as
    the Ki flow is not interrupted. When the Ki is not able
    to flow through your body, illnesses and diseases can be displayed.
    Reiki stimulates the flow of positive energy, thus enabling
    the body to heal itself and fight the external and internal
    attacks more effectively.
    2. Cleans our bodies of all toxins. Because it acts for the entire body, it can be one
    of the few complete detox programs it’s possible to follow.
    In addition to that it doesn’t involve refraining from food or another sort of activity.
    Yet, mental poison must be banned from your individual’s mind because
    they will have a negative impact upon the procedure.

    3. Promotes health, positive thoughts and relaxation.
    The principles of Reiki count on positive thinking,
    thus a peace of mind and relaxation is induced
    on the individual. By removing negative energy and promoting feeling
    of peace, the recovery process will probably be easier and shorter, regardless of the illness or disease from where the average person suffers.

    4. Works around the digestive tract and increases the benefic outcomes of almost everything an individual ingests, from
    food and water to medicines and curative herbs. Thus, it may be proven to work as being a complementary therapy for the
    people already taking medicine, but concurrently it is great for
    maintain the average person’s health in good parameters.
    5. Works on personal feelings, helping people get over negative experiences off their lives
    and managing unexpected or unpleasant situations
    from other lives. People with depressions, anxieties
    or being affected by stress can easily see dramatic improvements with their conditions after the Reiki sessions.

    6. Makes the transition from life to death less difficult. It helps the soul transcend into immortality and your body feel less experiencing this transformation. This is why many
    Reiki adepts utilize the Ki to generate their transition from one world
    to a different smoother.

    Reiki offers healing for those forms of bodily conditions,
    as well as for the spiritual problems. It is like a best friend for all those people short of funds, nonetheless it can also relieve healthy people from quotidian stress and problems.

    You can read more info here on website :

  3. Locating Giveaways for Yourself and Your Family.Totally free things is a thing which relates to the relish of one and all. This is actually the purpose why, with Sites and several other Website avenues, discovering no cost things is thronged by numerous types of viewers and produce a big amount of website traffic. No surprise the key word absolutely free is becoming one of the leading important terms in the world wide web advertising earth.In case you also are one of those people who are smitten by that cost-free things bug, there are a whole lot of selections, which you’ve got at hand. You could straight absent get on the internet and discover lots of free stuff for being had. Relying on the precise sort of stuff you are trying to find, yow will discover these freebies on a great deal of Website avenues.A very common product which is offered without spending a dime by a lot of the World wide web avenues over the web is guides, and also magazines. These may also contain experiences, journals, scientific studies and newsletters. You’ll be able to log on to the web avenue within your decision and just by registering with them employing a registered account, you are able to down load on your own there newsletters and periodicals, Unquestionably freed from cost. Other than this, you’ll find lots of World wide web avenues currently which supply you lots of textbooks in the form of ebooks to get downloaded at no cost. These could include things like technical books, spiritual books, instruction relevant guides as well as free of charge guides on several other realms.You will find a large amount of other totally free giveaways to become had in addition. You’ll be able to look at your favorite Web site supplying several products and solutions and take a look at the savings and promotional delivers becoming run by them. These may well include a lot of freebies to become experienced for their shoppers. Every person likes giveaways. Using the wide selection of objects to be offered away, it will be straightforward to discover something that you prefer.CLICK HERE FOR OFFICIAL AIR JORDAN GIVEAWAY

  4. Free Gift Cards – Get a Free Gift Card for those services : ( Google Play, Xbox, Steam, Skype, Windows, Ebay, Netflix, Microsoft, PlayStation, iTunes, PayPal, Amazon, Facebook, Spotify ).Getting a FREE Gift Card online is a whole lot easier than putting your name in a raffle to win a car at the mall.A free gift card or a raffle drawing are both set up with one goal in mind – to collect contact information which will be used for marketing purposes.Unlike a mall car raffle, which you realistically have no chance of winning – out of several thousand submissions only one will win the car – with the online giftcard promotion you have every chance to get the card of your choice, as long as you complete the participation requirements.WHAT!? You mean I can’t just get it for FREE? Let’s be realistic, nothing is really free.You have to exchange something of value to the card provider to receive the giftcard.What you will be exchanging is your contact information and your ability to successfully complete sponsor offers.Of course, the higher the dollar value of the card the more participation requirements you will need to fulfill. For a $100 card you may just have to complete 3 sponsor offers while for a $1,500 card you may need to complete 14+ sponsor offers. On the positive side, as long as you complete the participation requirements the giftcard is yours!Here’s how to do it successfully. Type in FREE Gift Card (free giftcard, free gift card) in your browser.Select the ones you like (Wal Mart, Target, Costco, Ikea, REI, Victoria’s Secret, Travel, grocery, food, restaurant, gas, the possibilities are almost endless) scroll down to Terms and Conditions (T&C), open T&C and read thoroughly. To be successful you must fully understand what is meant by “participation requirements.”Even though it’s advertised as “FREE” you will need to do some work. Each program will ask you to register with valid information, complete some kind of survey, and complete at least X Silver, X Gold and X Platinum sponsor offers.Keep in mind that each of these offers has their own completion requirements – be sure to follow them. Sounds a little complicated – not really. Just like in life, you just have to do it step-by-step. Once you do it several times it does become easier.How to be successful and get your card:1.—Understand the participation requirements.2.—Complete program participation requirements, and 3.—Do not cancel any program before completing program requirements.If a sponsor offer has a shipping offer; handling charge or first month payment – not a problem. What you spend will be a very small amount of the $1,000 (or $1,500 or $500 or…) giftcard which you’ll receive.Click on the link and : Get a Free Gift Card

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *