RNIB seeks answers from Facebook for refusing to run one of its advertisements

The sight-loss charity says the social networking website told it that the advert did not follow its policies

A still from the RNIB advert, unacceptable to Facebook
A still from the RNIB advert, unacceptable to Facebook

The sight-loss charity the RNIB is seeking further clarification as to why the social networking website Facebook has declined to run one of its adverts, which was rejected for being too negative.

The RNIB’s advert shows a woman’s face with a voiceover that says: "This is the moment that your doctor says you’re losing your sight. You’ll fear for your job, your home, your life. You’ll be angry that there’s nobody at the hospital who can help you face the future."

It goes on to say that only one in three UK hospitals has a sight-loss adviser and calls on people to demand support.

The charity, which has been promoting the advert for the past two weeks, said it wanted to pay for it to be promoted through Facebook, but the advert was rejected.

The RNIB queried why the 30-second clip, which is still available on the charity’s own Facebook page and on other sites including YouTube, had been rejected for a paid-for slot.

An email sent from Facebook to the RNIB in response said: "Ads should not single out individuals or degrade people. We don’t accept language like ‘fear of losing your sight, losing your job?’ and the like.

"Instead, text must present realistic and accurate information in a neutral or positive way and should not have any direct attribution to people."

Facebook told the RNIB that the advert did not follow its language policies. "We’ve found that people dislike ads that directly address them or their personal characteristics (for example: age, gender, race)," Facebook said.

Natasha Dickinson, group head of marketing and communications, said: "We were really shocked to find out that Facebook had banned our advert but even more surprised when they couldn’t tell us exactly why. We’re still not sure what we’ve really done wrong here. "Facebook is a really effective way for the RNIB to raise awareness of sight loss and reach thousands of people who might not otherwise know about our work and how we help blind and partially sighted people. Facebook is the world’s biggest social media site and it would be great to see them working with charities, not against them."

A spokesman for Facebook said it was investigating the matter.

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