Facebook backtracks on RNIB advert ban

Social media giant reverses decision to ban sight loss charity’s “degrading” video advert

RNIB see the need campaign

The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) has confirmed that Facebook has reversed a controversial decision to ban an advertisement for one of its campaigns after claiming it was “degrading.”

The ‘See the need, demand the support’ campaign, launched last month (15 September), aims to raise awareness of the need for sight loss advisers in hospital eye departments and clinics.

Advertisements for the campaign have featured prominently on radio, video on-demand services and billboards, appearing at London’s busy Euston train station, among others. The charity has also run a social media campaign using the hash tag #Seetheneed, and a video campaign via YouTube.

The RNIB said that Facebook failed to provide details on exactly what was wrong with the video. An article in The Guardian earlier this week reported that the social media giant banned the advert because the language used was not presented in a "neutral or positive way," and that Fabebook adverts should “not have any direct attribution to people.”  

RNIB’s group head of marketing and communications, Natasha Dickinson, said: "We’re really pleased that Facebook has acknowledged that they made a mistake in banning our advert. We accept that mistakes sometimes happen and hope that in future Facebook will work more closely with us and other charities to stop this type of situation happening again." 

A spokesperson for Facebook said: "Facebook is a place for people and organisations to campaign for the things that matter to them, and the Royal National Institute of Blind People’s video ad is a great example of that. In this instance we made a mistake, and have contacted the charity to let them know and to apologise for any inconvenience caused."