Ad’s headline: “Add Michael to Google+.”
Ad’s copy: “If you’re lucky enough to have a Google+ account, add Michael Lee Johnson, Internet Geek, App Developer, Technological Virtuoso.”
Ad’s photo: Headshot of person in question. Bizarre but friendly facial expression.
Sound innocent, regular, and utterly nothing to make a big deal out of? Obviously—but tell that to Facebook.
Mark Zuckerberg’s social network banned Michael’s ad. In fact, it banned all of his other ads too, including the ones that didn’t mention or reference Google+ in any manner.
The words in Facebook’s letter to him is as bizarre as its actions:
Perhaps it was Clause 11 in the “Special Provisions Applicable to Advertisers” section: “You will not issue any press release or make public statements about your relationship with Facebook without written permission.” Johnson had shamefully declared on Google+ that he was placing the ad.
Perhaps it was Clause 4d of Facebook’s Advertising Guidelines: “Ads cannot insult, harass, or threaten a user.” He was, some might say, harrassing and insulting Facebook loyalists by his mere suggestion that there might be another place to socially network.
Or perhaps Facebook, its nose feeling tweaked, merely decided to reach for 6a of the same 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.”
Mark, you’re shaking in your boots. Turns out people “Like” Google+. I guess for the search engine and online ads giant, third time’s a charm.
Now let’s see if these guys can grow up and get along.