Facebook Bans User's Ad Campaigns For Displaying Google+ Ad

from the all-i-see-is-sand dept

There’s a longstanding myth about ostriches that, when frightened, they will bury their head in the sand and pretend the danger isn’t there. This, of course, is ridiculous. Such horribly unadaptive behavior would have been bred out of the species by the evolutionary process (or by whichever God you believe in tweaking his code a bit) as hungry African predators would have delighted in seeing stationary feathery meals. See, that isn’t how you behave when you’re threatened. You don’t just pretend like the threat doesn’t exist.

Unless you’re Facebook, of course.

As reported by CNET, apparently a user of both Facebook and Google+ wanted to cross-pollinate his social networking farms and, since Facebook is still the more fruitful territory at the moment, decided to take out an ad with Facebook to get folks to add him on Google+. These two are, of course competitors, currently vying for users attention and loyalty. Apparently Facebook believes the best way to do that is to not only block this gentleman’s Google+ ad, but all of his ads on Facebook. The notice he received?

Your account has been disabled. All of your adverts have been stopped and should not be run again on the site under any circumstances. Generally, we disable an account if too many of its adverts violate our Terms of Use or Advertising guidelines. Unfortunately we cannot provide you with the specific violations that have been deemed abusive. Please review our Terms of Use and Advertising guidelines if you have any further questions.

In other words, we’re banning your ads because we’re banning your ads. The CNET article tries to dig into Facebooks advertising TOS, but basically comes up with nothing other than that they reserve the right to ban for any reason including promoting competing products.

So Facebook, embroiled in a war to win the hearts and minds of internet users, is pretending that the war doesn’t exist. There is no Google+, at least not in Facebook-Land, where everything is milk, honey, and Farmville requests. We know why ostriches didn’t evolve this kind of behavior.

So what’s going to happen to Facebook if they keep their heads firmly entrenched in the sand?

Filed Under: , ,
Companies: facebook, google

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Facebook Bans User's Ad Campaigns For Displaying Google+ Ad”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Jay (profile) says:

Just a friendly reminder

Hi Facebook,

We were good friends for a while. The thing is, it’s time to part ways. I’m allowing some great things to happen on my new site! Things that haven’t been done before. The problem is, the complaints I receive for doing them. So to make everyone happy, I’ve put a block to third party apps.

Then, I allow anyone to work with my pages, making them as big or as small as they want. The thing is, people are great to work on their pages, and make them look great! The problem is, most people aren’t that good at it. 🙁

Nowadays, I love how to allow people to communicate over a great period of distances. I let them communicate through even your network. Sadly, when people see your ways of making a social network, they don’t come back. Can you please help me figure this out?


Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Zuckerberg...

If slashdot said it, it must be true.

In other news… facebook is so 2009. It sucked then, it sucks now. And for someone majorly disliking all this social network crap and the cool words you try to use to make it sound cool, like ecosystem and crap like that… well G+ makes it more interesting. For now. Until it becomes so 2011 and something better comes out… and then the fad dies and all these shitty sites stop popping up… I know I know, I’m not well… then again neither are those 500M facebook users.

Mike42 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Zuckerberg...

That’s a lie. It didn’t suck then. It sucks now.
They redesigned the site, making it hard to find your current friends, but easy to invite new ones.
They also gave everyone instant messaging by default, and made you just ignore people if you don’t like IM.
They also gave game developers an API to allow your friends to annoy you with stupid game messages to the point that you really have to question the value of friends to begin with.
I found a bunch of “lost” friends on facebook… and oddly enough, they’re hardly ever on facebook.
Myspace lost because there was too much fluff all over the place. Very few people want to automatically hear your favorite songs and see your favorite vids, and if they do, they know how to click a link. Facebook figured that out, but they put all the links on the main page. Fail!
When I get on Google+, hopefully they will have even less fluff, and let me chop out what’s there.

Curt Bennett (profile) says:

This isn't news, and it's not just Google+

Facebook has always banned ads for competitors. It doesn’t matter whether it’s the competitor itself or just a competitor’s loyal customer who places the ad. Plus, the letter the guy received is clearly a form letter, not an attempt to hide why the ad was banned. If someone like me, who loves Google+ and doesn’t like Facebook, has to point these things out to you, you know you messed up the story.

ClarkeyBalboa (profile) says:

Re: This isn't news, and it's not just Google+

A company who knows they have a great product or perform a service exceptionally, is not a company that fears competition, but instead thrives on it.

I’m tired of ‘form letters’ like this. They are basically a bully with authority. I had a high school vice principal pull this crap on me: he pulled me into his office and then said “what did you do wrong?” and repeated that line of questioning for 15 minutes. Waste of time because i didn’t actually do anything, and all he taught me is that there are people in this world that will use the full weight of their authority to push you around and make you think you are wrong.
Putting into the letter “we won’t tell you what you did wrong” is pretty similar bullshit. It shows that they are afraid of their competition, but are desperate to not show that fear.

ChronoFish (profile) says:

Facebook to be come the game platform...for now

I’ve seen three distinct camps evolve since Google launched Google+

1. Google Fan Boys (of which I suppose I am one) joining G+ because it’s just like Facebook – but it’s not Facebook.

2. Facebook non-apologist who will stick with Facebook because they like the games.

3. Google haters who refuse G+ and will stick with FB until MS gets their Soc Net going….


Sinan Unur (profile) says:


There’s a longstanding myth about ostriches that, when frightened, they will bury their head in the sand and pretend the danger isn’t there. This, of course, is ridiculous. Such horribly unadaptive behavior would have been bred out of the species by the evolutionary process (or by whichever God you believe in tweaking his code a bit) as hungry African predators would have delighted in seeing stationary feathery meals.

Of course, if such behavior were triggered after the ostrich had a chance to reproduce, there would be no a priori reason to expect that it would lead to extinction. It might even be adaptive if offspring that can fend for themselves get a chance to escape while the predators occupied themselves with the stationary adult.

Jesse (profile) says:

Re: Nitpicking

Not quite. If the ostrich raises their young, then it would help if they were around to do that. Furthermore, it’s not just reproducing once, but whichever individuals produces the most offspring (who can themselves reproduce and so on). Thus, making one baby and kicking the bucket is not a good strategy.

If you want a good conundrum, try to figure out how humans evolved to have menapause (i.e. “voluntary” sterility). Bonus points if you don’t look it up.

Sinan Unur (profile) says:

Re: Re: Nitpicking

Requirement of parental investment in offspring explains a lot (including the commitment mechanisms invented by those famous movie penguins), but I am not sure about menopause.

I did do a search about ostrich offspring and found this list of facts. Among them:

When a pair of ostriches bearing the young meets another pair, the parents will fight and the winning pair will be parents of both pairs’ offspring. It has been reported that the biggest group of ostriches contains 300 offspring!

If true, this is kind of curious, and suggests somehow that possession of others’ offspring enhances the fitness of one’s own.

Nicedoggy says:

Re: Nitpicking

On the funny side:


Unlike the complete and utter nonsense that you have been led to believe in the paragraphs above, these birds do not stick their heads in the sand (as goes the myth), and so bear no relationship to the current administration (which some wish was a myth). Rather, ostriches appear to do this. There is a world of difference between appearance and reality but few in politics ever seem to grasp this reality. On point, however, the myth arises from myopic sapiens who would rather say they saw something they wanted to see than what was actually happening. So what was actually happening? Well, ostriches eat rocks. Pebbles to be more precise. They grind them up, think, “ooh, tasty, tasty” and then burp. Down the hatch it goes and pronto, yet another reason why an ostrich is never going to take off in flight. Myopic and probably color blind humans see only an ostrich butt, with the head down munching on pebbles and conclude “that ostrich must have its head in the sand, oh bollocks, what a stupid bird.” Only part of this statement is factually correct because the head is merely down obtaining the pebbles and crushing them up. After all, if you ate pebbles, it is highly unlikely you’d want to raise your head until you’d ground them up either.

Source: http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/Ostrich


You’re all thieves, damn your eyes! became a household phrase when used by the RIAA in their popular ‘You’re all all thieves, damn your eyes!” advertising campaign, featuring videos of record company executives with shoes and hats and charms made of gold wandering the street shouting this phrase at random bystanders. In their Christmas special, David Geffen was filmed urinating on a cage filled with sobbing teens who were suspected of having downloaded music.

Source: http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/RIAA

On a serious note about some animals behavior:
Possums stay very, very still hoping that predators loose interest(i.e. defensive thanatosis, playing possum) and so do a lot of other animals.

opposums and vipers are apparently in an arms race, maybe that is why Facebook keeps getting more venomous by the day.

ltlw0lf (profile) says:

Re: Re: Nitpicking

Well, ostriches eat rocks. Pebbles to be more precise. They grind them up, think, “ooh, tasty, tasty” and then burp.

Most birds do (except, I believe, Owls.) They have part of their stomach called a craw/crop/croup, which is a pouch in their throats where food is “pre-digested” before hitting the stomach. Birds eat rocks, pebbles, and sand to aid in this digestion, but it doesn’t affect their flight characteristics because it is only a small amount.

It is often fun watching chickens do this…the pecking they do on the ground isn’t for worms, but for pebbles and sand granules which they store in their crop to help digestion.

It is also why some people find sand/dirt in bird poop, because the stuff gets cycled through the system and they have to eat more.

Anonymous Coward says:

This article is FUD.

Refusing to provide advertising to your competitor is in no way shape or form the same thing as pretending you don’t have a competitor.

What sane business provides advertising to their direct competitors? None of them. You know why? ’cause it would be stupid.

There’s definitely a story to be had with the original article, in that FB banned his whole account instead of just a single ad. that’s a knee jerk reaction taht should have been handled better. But Timothy Geigner tried to spin it off as if facebook was trying to ignore its problem. THAT MAKES NO FUCKING SENSE. I dont see anyway to come to that conclusion at all.

TECHDIRT: I don’t care how popular Dark Helmet is. STOP POSTING FUD.

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: This article is FUD.

“What sane business provides advertising to their direct competitors? None of them.”

Er, other than television stations, radio stations, restaurants that post menus from other eateries in their waiting areas, etc. Besides, the “ad” wasn’t “hey, leave facebook and come see how awesome G+ is”. It was just “add me on G+”. Why is that such a big deal?

“But Timothy Geigner tried to spin it off as if facebook was trying to ignore its problem.”

Er, yeah. By banning ALL the user’s ads out of some kind of misguided fear that he’d psot another one. That was the point….

“TECHDIRT: I don’t care how popular Dark Helmet is. STOP POSTING FUD.”

I’m popular? Well, there’s a first time for everything, I suppose….

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: This article is FUD.

[quote]”But Timothy Geigner tried to spin it off as if facebook was trying to ignore its problem.”

Er, yeah. By banning ALL the user’s ads out of some kind of misguided fear that he’d psot another one. That was the point….[/quote]

Seriously, there is no correlation there at all. Your entire point was that facebook was being ignorant of their problem, and then you provided EVIDENCE that they were being proactive about their problem.

Black is white, up is down. The very definition of FUD.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: This article is FUD.

I have never seen restaurants advertising other restaurants (that they don’t own) or heard radio stations advertising other radio stations. I think television is an odd example because of potential antitrust issues.

How is banning this guy’s ads ignoring the competition? Really, that makes no sense.

Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile) says:

Re: Re: This article is FUD.

TECHDIRT: I don’t care how popular Dark Helmet is. STOP POSTING FUD.

Well, I care how popular Dark Helmet is. In fact, he’s so popular that Hothmonster gave him the kickassic nickname “Penis Joke.” Meanwhile, I got saddled with the easily mishandled and often-ignored nickname “CLiT.” So, I care.

(I’m sorry. I didn’t catch the rest of your whatever.)

HothMonster says:

Re: Re: Re: This article is FUD.

the was really just a way of identifying his post when people can’t remember which tim is which. If we want to make a nickname out of it we can do better.

The Penis Tickler
Laughable Penis
The Penis Clown
Balls McPenisJoke
Taint Funnier
Purple Helmet

hmmm nothing great, ill stick it deep in my thought hole and see what comes out

aikiwolfie (profile) says:

Re: This article is FUD.

Actually TV channels, news papers and magazines advertise on each others networks and in each others publications all the time. Late night TV news broadcasts even review the news papers content before they go on sale.

I don’t recall Google banning search results For Firefox or Opera or Windows Phone 7 or Blackberry. But these are all direct competitors to Google. Google even pays Mozilla to make it’s search engine the default in Firefox. Even though Google has it’s own browser.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Vendor Lock-in

if you made billions by including a simple vendor lock-in flag into your business model, you would probably try to maintain it.

You can call Zuckerburg on it all you want, but that’s how he got rich. That’s how THOUSANDS of entrepreneurs have struck gold in the marketplace. there are countless case studies that prove vendor lock-in is a vital key to long term success. (see razor blades, ink toner, everything microsoft has ever touched, etc)

Of course, that doesn’t mean we have to like it. But just because we don’t like it doesn’t mean it’s not a viable business model.

Rekrul says:

Why not do a story on how easy it is to get banned from the Internet Movie Database’s forums? All you have to do is openly criticize the fact that the administrators have no accountability and that they will ban people at the drop of a hat. Presto, not only do you get banned, but they won’t even tell you the reason you got banned. You didn’t violate any of the terms of service, someone on the staff just didn’t like you voicing your opinion.

Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile) says:

Re: Facebook shill or DH hater?

I’m just surprised you made it through a post without a poo or penis joke :b

He was probably distracted by the nature documentary unfolding in the comment threads. (Yes, I realize that this timeline makes no sense as the comment thread didn’t develop until after he posted his penis-joke-free post, but if you look at it from the view of a late-coming commenter [there’s part of a penis joke], it all makes a sort of cosmic sense and also explains why some of my posts are heavily edited by others before they make it out into the wild.)

Anonymous Coward says:

At least give a reason

It wouldn’t be all that difficult for them to state a reason for the ban, would it? I mean, somebody has to review the ad and determine that it violates something… is it so hard, before you ban someone, to type in a few words describing what exactly the ad violated?

According to the Facebook advertising guidelines, “We may refuse ads at any time for any reason, including our determination that they promote competing products or services or negatively affect our business or relationship with our users.”

But since they don’t say what was violated, maybe that wasn’t it. Maybe it violated this section: “Ads cannot require viewers to click on the ad to submit Personally Identifiable Information (such as name, date of birth, phone numbers, social security number, physical addresses, or email addresses) on the landing page.” Since Google+ requires a name, this could be the real reason!

Or maybe he violated the section prohibiting using the “&” symbol to mean “And”, or ending a sentence with elipses… I guess we’ll never know.

Oh, and by the way… Plenty of internet sites accept advertising for competing sites. I can understand not doing it, though, if your product is inferior and people only use it because it’s what they’ve always been using and their friends all use it.

FM Hilton (profile) says:

FB is ignoring Google+ at it's peril-but that's a good thing.

Please don’t even think of inviting game developers on to G+.
That’s why FB sucks so bad now-all those annoying and in-your-face ads, invites and groups for games that you would never find in the bargain bin of of Salvation Army Stores.

I hate Google-I’ll admit that right now-but FB really is the pits,-I have an account there, too and at G+.

Let’s see who doesn’t suck so hard in two years time. My bet is on G+ because they’ve seen the pit that FB is.

Add Your Comment

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

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...