In a year that has seen its fair share of draconian measures around the country, Facebook, as well as other social media giants during September and October 2020, stepped up their game in banning pretty much whatever they consider "offensive." However, when ads promoting a feature length movie about the U.S. Constitution are abruptly stopped after running continuously for over three years, one must question motives, intent and agenda.
Norm Novitsky, the producer and director of the award-winning In Search of Liberty Constitution movie, has successfully run ads on Facebook since the launch of the DVD and Blu-Ray on August 29, 2017. "We have been running these ads non-stop since we launched and then, all of a sudden, and with much irony, on September 23, the final day of Constitution Week this year, Facebook arbitrarily shut off our ads," Novitsky states.
"The reason given was only that we are not authorized to run 'political' ads, which is not true," he continued. "We filled out numerous 'Report a Problem' forms and attached evidence that we have been approved to do so and have heard nothing back from Facebook."
After a week of unsuccessfully making contact with the social media behemoth, his firm, IC Liberty Films, filed discrimination complaints against Facebook with the California Department of Justice, the Florida Attorney General's Office, the Federal Trade Commission and the United States Department of Justice Civil Rights Division for what Novitsky calls discrimination.
"Until Section 230 is changed to eliminate the protective shield the social media giants use to hide behind, we felt we had to do something. We have been grossly and unjustly discriminated against by Facebook," Novitsky stated.
"As well," says Novitsky, "Section 230 reads: 'No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.' While it shields them from lawsuits based upon what people may publish on their platforms, it does not state that they can arbitrarily ban or stop people or groups with whom they disagree. Doing that does make them a publisher."
In the meantime, Novitsky and his firm are looking into other avenues and methods to turn the ad shut down around, including legal action. "Discrimination," Novitsky points out, "is against the law. Facebook is not above the law."