The Social Media Giant Takes Issue with a Children’s Book About Sharing
By Joshua Einstein
Allegations of Facebook censorship have been a topic in recent months. The social media giant recently decided to continue allowing Holocaust denial, but it now seems unsure whether selling children’s books teaching non-violence and sharing should be banned from its platform.
The company at issue is Little Libertarian’s. Facebook took issue with Little Libertarian’s latest book, a children’s book designed to promote sharing, declaring “we don’t allow the sale of adult items of services (ex: sexual enhancement items, adult videos).”
Founded in 2018, Little Libertarian’s books and pedagogic tools are designed to teach children “concepts such as non-aggression and the golden rule” that “should be taught at the youngest ages. And we do it through colorful and uplifting stories that your babies can begin to relate to and discuss.”
Author Dorit Goikhman told me that “it makes me concerned because these are just children’s books about sharing, fundamental principles of humanity and being a good person… that these pedagogic materials needed to be banned or even looked over by anyone in Facebook’s staff is beyond belief. Above all it makes me concerned because if this censorship happens to me, it could happen to anyone.”
What exactly happened?
On Friday May 3rd, the company began creating adds to promote products including its Don’t Hurt People and Don’t Take Their Toys book and the Self-ownership for Kids lesson plan. Goikhman says Facebook pulled adds for allegedly containing “political content.”
Facebook then apparently vacillated back and forth, approving and pulling several adverts as well as admitting in email that the advertisements did not in fact violate the policy. Upon examining the Facebook definition of “political content” on their website, it is unclear how children’s books encouraging sharing and non-violence violates the policy.
Facebook “ads related to politics or issues of national importance” in the United States section states:
Definition of ads related to politics or issues of national importance
- Is made by, on behalf of, or about a current or former candidate for public office, a political party, a political action committee, or advocates for the outcome of an election to public office; or
- Relates to any election, referendum, or ballot initiative, including “get out the vote” or election information campaigns; or
- Relates to any national legislative issue of public importancein any place where the ad is being run; or
- Is regulated as political advertising.
It wasn’t until May 6th that an advertisement was finally accepted and approved without any games by Facebook. Or so Little Libertarian’s and Dorit thought:
Finally, a couple of ads were approved. But within hours, two of the store’s main products were pulled as “adult items or services”:
Ironically, the content was hardly aimed at adults.
The book titled “Don’t Hurt People and Don’t Take their Toys” is aimed at children 0-7 years old and endeavors to teach children about voluntarily sharing toys as opposed to taking things which aren’t theirs to take; it’s property rights for kids. The other targeted product was a lesson plan on self-ownership for children.
“We put in endless hours just to get these ads running, and right after launch our main product was pulled,” explained Goikhman. “Still, they refuse to refund the money for the ad campaign which ran while the products were pulled.”
While the products have since been restored following an appeal, Facebook has offered no reasoning as to why the products were pulled in the first place. Facebook also refuses to explain why it won’t issue a refund for the ads it ran while the products were pulled. In fact, there were ads that turned on even after the product was pulled.
“While they are not overtly banning my products, Facebook’s behavior is effectively achieving the same result,” Goikhman added, expressing her belief that Facebook’s actions were improper.
Joshua Sotomayor-Einstein is an old school classical liberal of the smaller government meets neoconservative fusionist variety. As a sometimes Kirkian, sometimes Objectivist, he supports the civic celebration of the Christian foundations of the West, the deregulation of marriage, the legalization of drugs, and the Blue Laws. He is also the NJGOP State Committeeman from Hudson County and NJYRF North East Vice Chairman