Facebook ad ban lifted on Canadian company’s “overtly sexual” onions

Facebook ad ban - basket of onions
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The social media giant also reversed its decision on peas flagged as promoting alcohol consumption.

A seed company from Newfoundland, Canada has had a Facebook ad ban lifted after the social media platform labeled its picture of a wicker basket of onions as being “overtly sexual.”

The Gaze Seed Company has found itself having to have more than one ban reviewed by the platform.

According to the company’s manager, Jackson McLean, he was required to request a manual review of the Facebook ad ban in order to have it lifted. McLean explained that he was creating advertisements on the social media platform for onion seeds when he received an error response from the website.

“A couple of them came back with errors, and I looked into it further to see what the error was, and for the onion photo it said that it was overtly sexual,” said McLean. That said, according to the manager, there wasn’t anything sexual about the advertisement for the Walla Walla sweet onion seeds. The image on the product package showed a wicker basket containing a number of onions, with a few sliced onions displayed in front of it.

“There was something about the round shapes being next to each other that set off some trigger,” speculated McLean.

The Canadian seed company took the Facebook ad ban in good humor and shared the story.

The manager took a couple of screenshots of the error before requesting a manual review to have the advertisement cleared.

“I knew that our Facebook audience would get a kick out of it as well,” he said, having faced this type of issue on the website before. He also explained that the ad he had tried to create for Little Marvel peas produced an error flagging it as promoting alcohol consumption.

Though the social media giant hasn’t confirmed the source of the errors with McLean, he believes that there is an issue with the screening algorithm. “They might have to do some tweaking there, because there is nothing about the peas that has anything to do with alcohol,” he guessed.

Facebook Canada head of communications Meg Sinclair later described the Facebook ad ban mistake as a slip of the filtering technology. “We use automated technology to keep Facebook ad ban - basket of onionsnudity off our apps, but sometimes it doesn’t know a Walla Walla onion from a, well, you know,” she explained. “We restored the ad and are sorry for the business’s trouble.”

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