Matt Caldwell accuses Facebook of censorship after ad is removed

Matt Caldwell gun ad Facebook censored

GOP Agriculture Commissioner candidate Matt Caldwell has a message for Facebook after he says his pro-Second Amendment ad was removed: “Don’t tread on me.”

The candidate, also a North Fort Myers state representative, argues Facebook was motivated by “institutional liberalism” in choosing to ban the ad.

The 15-second spot, titled “That’s All There Is To It,” is still available on YouTube. It features Caldwell shooting a clay target before he addresses the camera directly while holding the gun.

“I’m Matt Caldwell. I like guns. I love the Second Amendment. And I support our president. That’s why I’m endorsed by the NRA. I’m Matt Caldwell, and that’s all there is to it.”

That was apparently enough to get the ad taken down.

Facebook’s advertising policies include the following language: “Ads must not promote the sale or use of weapons, ammunition, or explosives.”

The page then gives a list of acceptable and unacceptable advertisements. “Ads promoting the brandishing of firearms” are disallowed by the website, according to that page. A request for comment from Facebook is pending.

“Facebook’s liberal agenda is keeping our campaign for Commissioner of Agriculture from sharing our message,” Caldwell said. The site “has mislabeled our ad in an effort to censor our pro-Second Amendment support and endorsement from the NRA.”

Caldwell then directly addressed Facebook’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg.

“The U.S. Constitution could not be clearer: Our Second Amendment rights are inalienable. These God-given rights were enshrined in the Constitution by our Founding Fathers and Facebook’s censorship regime cannot get away with waging a war against conservative ideals and our pro-liberty message. Washington, Jefferson, and Madison are the names on the U.S. Constitution, not Zuckerberg.”

It should be noted that while George Washington and James Madison did sign the U.S. Constitution, Thomas Jefferson did not as he was in France at the time.

Caldwell is competing for the Republican nomination in the Ag. Commissioner race with state Sen. Denise Grimsley, retired Army Colonel Mike McCalister, and former state Rep. Baxter Troutman. They are running to replace term-limited Commissioner Adam Putnam, now running to be Florida’s next governor.

Caldwell and Grimsley are at the top of the heap in fundraising and endorsements — Caldwell added more than a dozen last week — while Troutman has so far kept up by dumping millions of his own cash into his campaign account.

The primary election is Aug. 28.

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Ryan Nicol

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to [email protected]


One comment

  • Digital Strategist

    July 25, 2018 at 5:15 am

    This is dumb. Facebook isn’t making smart decisions. It’s got a bunch of entry-level folks screening ads by the thousands an hour. One of my political clients is busy campaigning for legalization of agricultural hemp. But Facebook keeps getting confused and thinking it’s an ad selling marijuana. Every three days or so, the ads get disapproved. We complain and they’re back up. Caldwell is just grandstanding. He needs to tell his ads guy to just escalate to their political team and get it turned back on.

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