Lesbian musician couple accuses Facebook of LGBTQ discrimination
A lesbian musician couple from the United Kingdom has said their Facebook ad had been rejected by the social media giant because of LGBTQ discrimination.
Sera Golding-Young and her wife Frankie, both from Guildford, Surrey, said they posted a sponsored FB ad to reach their fans.
However, FB took down their ad for violating Community Standards rules allegedly for ‘illicit sexual activity.’
Facebook takes down couple’s “objectionable” ad
The couple– who founded the independent band Unsung Lilly– had posted a video to announce the release of their new album.
The two had lost income because COVID-19 had shut down music venues. To drum up attention, they invited fans to join their Patreon page to go behind the scenes in the creation of their new album.
To spread the word, they posted a promotional advert on FB that had a “romantic” picture of the couple with their foreheads touching each other.
The social media giant rejected their ad under the Community Standards rules for ‘Objectionable Content,’ which targets illicit images of nudity or sexual activity.
The two decided to try another ad showing a heterosexual couple in the same pose. This ad was allowed by the company.
Couple decries Facebook discrimination of their ad
Sera lamented the actions of the social media giant: “I understand that Facebook can mistakenly reject things sometimes, but when I saw the explanation, I couldn’t believe my eyes.”
“I assumed it had to be a mistake, so we sought multiple appeals and re-submitted the ad several times, but each time we received the same rejection message,” she said.
They experimented by posting another ad containing an identical video and copy, but changed the image to a “non-romantic” shot of the couple.
They also used the “romantic” picture of a heterosexual couple, which was accepted by FB.
Sera said it was their romantic shot that was the problem. But they didn’t know why as this was “our profile photos across all platforms because we believe it’s a beautiful, artistic shot of two people in love.”
Couple reaches out to ACLU to get answers
To seek answers, the couple contacted the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to help them contact FB.
Sera related, “The company claimed the ads were rejected ‘incorrectly’ and assured us that the rejection had nothing to do with the LGBTQ content, but rather the dancing in the video.”
“They would not explain why the ad with the exact same dancing but with a heterosexual couple was accepted in our tests,” she added.
“As members of the LGBTQ community, we know how important it is to see ourselves represented and reflected in the media. Visibility can save lives, particularly for transgender people, LGBTQ people of colour and youth,” she said.
“If Facebook is restricting LGBTQ content because its systems consider our kind of love to be ‘adult’ and ‘sexually explicit,’ that means they are actively erasing the LGBTQ experience and silencing LGBTQ voices,” she pointed out.