‘Approved, Not Approved’ campaign uncovers how ad guidelines on social media are selectively enforced

Protesters stood in front of Facebook’s New York office to call attention to a new platform designed to help the public understand how advertising guidelines on social media sites are selectively enforced, therefore limiting access to solutions, education, and engagement from brands, especially those targeting women.

The protest helped launch ‘Approved, Not Approved’, a campaign, website and activation by sex toy maker Dame Products and sexual wellness company Unbound.

The brands hope that by shedding light on this matter, policy makers will be implored to make the necessary changes to current policies that they say negatively affect female-focused wellness companies.

“It’s rare that you see two brands in the same space coming together for a cause that affects them both,” states Polly Rodriguez, chief executive and co-founder of Unbound.

“We hope by putting forth a united front on this issue, the powers that be will see how impactful their decisions are not only on our business but on their mass audience,” added Alexandra Fine, co-founder of Dame Products.

Dame recently sued New York’s transit authority over its banning of sex toy ads on the subway. The company’s argument is that it shows erectile dysfunction ads but unfairly bans ads for women’s pleasure. This new initiative is an extension of that movement, but taken to the social realm.

To help bring awareness to ‘Approved, Not Approved’, Dame and Unbound created an interactive website that takes the form of a quiz, inviting users to consider real advertisements, and make the decision for themselves as to whether a particular ad is appropriate for public consumption. Visitors can see firsthand the ads that have been approved despite suggestive imagery or sexual subject matter, and those that were disapproved for various vague reasons. Visitors will also have the opportunity to share their results on social media, and sign up to learn more about the ongoing fight with various advertising platforms.

The protest, which happened to take place on National Orgasm Day, featured people with signs that read “Hey Facebook, this is sexist” with pictures of ads that were either approved or not approved, plus “Sexual wellness and education is not obscene” and “All orgasms are equal.”

See pictures of the protest and examples from the campaign by clicking the Creative Works box below.

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