On Monday, February 27, Black-owned athleisure wear brand Actively Black took to social media to call out Meta’s Instagram for unnecessary ad-blocking.
In a post on Instagram, the brand shared screenshots of the platform’s algorithm blocking five ads and the explanations as to why the decisions were made.
The first ad celebrated Black women, the second was Actively Black’s impact report, the third was the brand’s Black First collection, the fourth was their collaboration with the All Power to the People Project, and the last was the collaboration with John Carlos.
Instagram deemed all five ads as a violation of their social issue, electoral or politics policy – requesting that the brand receive authorization by confirming their identity and using disclaimers.
“If you are going to let racists spew their hatred on your platform everyday in the name of free speech, why are you rejecting and blocking our ads and promoted posts by claiming that they are political?” Actively Black’s caption read.
In the same post, the brand said that more of its ads and promotions have been blocked and that Instagram’s algorithm is biased.
“When we report racists harassing our page and our founder, we are told that they are practicing free speech,” the post continued. “Yet here we are just trying to positively provide for and uplift our Black audience and community, and we get censored.”
The post garnered a lot of attention, currently sitting with over 5,000 likes and over 500 comments.
“Why do you have selective censorship?” Erika Alexander, best known for her role as Maxine Shaw from FOX sitcom Living Single, addressed Meta in the comments. “It seems your policies around black community awareness in history feeds into the racist bigotry of how our community is selectively being policed and denied the rights to communicate with each other without it being misconstrued as politically motivated.”
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Alexander also suggested that Actively Black move to Fanbase, a Black-owned social media platform.
Meta, formerly known as Facebook, came under fire a few years ago for promoting ads with misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccine. The advertisements were found to be geared toward BIPOC communities.
Last year, the company settled its lawsuit with the United States Department of Justice and agreed to implement ad technology changes. Keeping with that agreement, Meta launched an AI-based VRS system to decrease bias earlier this year.
Actively Black was founded by former basketball star Lanny Smith with the mission to give back to the Black community.
Marcom Weekly reached out to Actively Black for further comments but has not heard back.