That’s the message Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Youtube seem to have for us gun owners and the firearms industry.
I can’t tell you how many times I have watched ads for concealed carry holsters and other pro gun advertising as I wait to watch a video on Youtube. Viewing these ads, I would think that as a creator, my content and audience is a good fit for those interested in guns and gear. Yesterday however, I was informed by email that a video I posted on September 6, 2016 is no longer “advertiser friendly.”
According to Google and Youtube:
Content that is considered “not advertiser-friendly” includes, but is not limited to:
- Sexually suggestive content, including partial nudity and sexual humor
- Violence, including display of serious injury and events related to violent extremism
- Inappropriate language, including harassment, profanity and vulgar language
- Promotion of drugs and regulated substances, including selling, use and abuse of such items
- Controversial or sensitive subjects and events, including subjects related to war, political conflicts, natural disasters and tragedies, even if graphic imagery is not shown
My so-called advertiser “unfriendly” video? It’s not even one of me shooting a “scary looking” AR-15 rifle. It’s a highlight reel from the 2016 USPSA Revolver Nationals and one that has been viewed over 8,800 times.
That’s Youtube. Just last week Instagram shared with me their “exciting” news that one of my photos was doing so well that I ought to consider promoting it. The photo was a cute one with a great message. I thought, why not? I submitted to pay $20 for a 3-day promotion. The next time I opened the app I found this notice:
This is the photo with the caption.
No guns, knives, nunchucks or even a knuckle duster is featured in this photo, just two proud, happy moms who believe in the Second Amendment and sharing the shooting sports. The engagement and views on such a “popular” photo suddenly and uncharacteristically halted. It appears that, not only was my promotion denied, but my photo disappeared from my followers’ feeds as well. My next post was a screenshot of my denied promotion. The stats of both photos are informative:
- “Popular” photo of 2 popular women sharing the shooting sports – 985 impressions, 804 people reached
- Screenshot of promotion denied – 9825 impressions and 7,209 people reached
So what do we do? Pack up our virtual bags and leave where we are not welcome? Or, do we stick around and continue to baffle and beat the odds? I say stay. There’s one thing they have yet to figure out how to limit and stifle…
When we like, share and keep the conversation going about
what matters to us without paying a single penny…
Let’s take a look at Twitter. A couple of years ago this “social” network hounded me to advertise on their platform. Yet, every time I tried to boost a tweet, I was denied because I, a veteran, mother, hunter and champion shooter, am somehow offensive to them. Twitter harassed me to spend advertising money and then simply denied it. Now, the last time I looked, Twitter wasn’t doing so well in comparison to others in the social media biz. It’s generally not a smart business practice to ask for advertising and then deny those dollars. You won’t see guns, knives or hunting ads on Twitter, but the network can’t stop the conversation.
Think about it. These communication networks with anti-gun policies refuse to accept advertising dollars from the businesses and personalities in the firearms industry, but the more we as a gun owner community like, comment, share, create conversation and keep it going, we beat them at a their own game. As for me, I won’t become a Youtube Red subscriber or take the bait to attempt to boost my posts in these controlled environments, but I will continue to use my voice, or in this case photos, videos, emojis and typing fingers. I hope you’ll join me with your likes, loves and shares.
Keep your money. You DO matter.