Following public outcry over its decision to lock a conservative children’s book publisher out of its account and prevent it from advertising, Facebook reinstated Heroes of Liberty’s access to the platform Monday.
As The Daily Wire previously reported, Heroes of Liberty, launched on November 14, offers biographies of such American heroes as President Ronald Reagan and economist Thomas Sowell to young readers. On December 23, Facebook locked the account, preventing it from posting ads. When the publisher appealed the ruling, Facebook responded by claiming that because Heroes of Liberty didn’t “comply with [their] policy on Low Quality or Disruptive Content,” it was permanently disabling the account.
One final appeal from the publisher brought this reply: “After a final review of this ad account, we confirmed it didn’t comply with our Advertising Policies or other standards. You can no longer advertise with this ad account and its ads and assets will remain disabled. This is our final decision.”
Editor Bethany Mandel took to Twitter to share her disappointment with the ruling. “My new children’s book publishing company, @HeroesOfLiberty, was dealt a real blow going into the New Year, when we were banned by Facebook,” she said on January 3, adding:
Our books are designed to inspire children. We invested much of our seed capital in building our brand on Facebook …
When Facebook shut down our account, we lost all the data that we carefully gathered for the last six months. We can’t communicate with the audience that we built. Our ad account is permanently disabled. The consequences to our business could be devastating.
Mandel also went on Fox Business, telling the cable news outlet, “We are not in politics; we are in the business of creating beautiful stories about great people that will entertain children and give them life lessons. To cancel children’s books because they celebrate American values that 90% of Americans believe in isn’t even anti-conservative bias, it’s anti-American. Pure madness.”
In reaction, high profile figures like Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), expressed disgust for Facebook’s treatment of the company. “When conservatives start independent publishing outlets and platforms, #BigTech companies like Facebook now work to destroy them,” he said, adding, “This latest example is particularly galling.”
Mandel’s complaint was also picked up by Fox News senior political analyst Brit Hume, who tweeted later that evening, at 8:23 p.m., “This is sickening. The books were about Ronald Reagan, Amy Coney Barrett and Thomas Sowell. Facebook blocked ads for them claiming they violate a policy against ‘low-quality or disruptive’ content. What bullsh*t.”
An hour later, Andy Stone, policy communications director at Facebook’s parent company, Meta, replied to Hume that the ban was an “error” that “should not have happened.” Later, Facebook told multiple legislators and media figures who’d commented on the issue that it had made a mistake, though Mandel said the tech giant failed to reach out directly to her or her company, and she discovered Facebook had reversed its decision on Twitter.
Former Babylon Bee writer Frank Fleming summed up the episode, saying, “So when they say ‘This is our final decision’ they mean ‘This is our final decision unless you can cause a large enough outcry to force us to review it again.’”