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Politics & Policy

Facebook Removes Block on Elizabeth Heng’s Campaign Ad

In response to Heng Gets Facebook Blocked

This evening, Elizabeth Heng’s campaign announced that Facebook had removed the block on a campaign advertisement that Heng intended to run on the social-media site. The video was flagged by Facebook last week for “shocking, disrespectful or sensational content.”

Heng, a young Asian-American running for Congress as a Republican in California’s sixteenth district, included content in the ad about the Cambodian genocide, because her parents immigrated to the U.S. from Cambodia as a result of the suffering inflicted by Communism.

Heng released the following statement this evening about the reversal of Facebook’s decision: “I’m deeply disappointed that Facebook would not give me a public apology for targeting a conservative candidate for Congress. It took them 5 days and an immense amount of pressure before they ‘realized’ that they deliberately blocked my history and my story.”

Update 8/8/18 1:15 p.m.Heng told National Review in a phone interview on Wednesday that “the only thing” Facebook officials told her about the reversal was that “after further review on my ad, it’s clear the images in the video are not being used to shock people but they are relevant to my story, and they apologized for the confusion.”

Heng says she contacted Facebook immediately after the site revoked permission to run her ad last week. After not hearing back for several days, she made the story public. Facebook has not yet responded to National Review’s request for further clarity on the decisions that took place regarding this video ad.

Update 8/8/18 2:45 p.m.A spokesperson for Facebook has provided National Review with the following statement via email: “Upon further review, it is clear the video contains historical imagery relevant to the candidate’s story. We have since approved the ad and it is now running on Facebook.”

According to the spokesperson, the campaign was always permitted to post the video on Facebook; the restriction was against sponsoring and promoting the ad. The spokesperson said the video was rejected last week because its footage of the Cambodian genocide was deemed to violate the site’s advertising policy against content intended to “shock or scare.” After further review, Facebook approved the ad, saying the footage contains historical images that were relevant to Heng’s personal story.

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