- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Facebook did an about-face after banning the account of Heroes of Liberty, a conservative children’s book publisher whose works include biographies of Ronald Reagan, Thomas Sowell and Amy Coney Barrett.

Andy Stone, spokesperson for Meta, which owns Facebook, tweeted Monday that the decision last month to disable permanently the publisher’s account was a mistake.

“This should not have happened. It was an error and the ad account’s been restored,” Mr. Stone said.

His tweet came in response to a post from Fox senior political analyst Brit Hume, who called the ban “sickening.”

Mr. Hume and others rallied to Heroes of Liberty’s defense after editor and board member Bethany Mandel said that Facebook had shut down the newly launched publishing house’s advertising account over the “disruptive content” of its ads.

The company officially launched in November but had invested “considerable resources into building our brand on Facebook” beginning in July.

“When Facebook shut down our account, we lost all the data that we carefully gathered for the last six months,” Ms. Mandel said in a Monday tweet. “We can’t communicate with the audience that we built. Our ad account is permanently disabled. The consequences to our business could be devastating.”

In a Tuesday post on Facebook, Heroes of Liberty said that it learned from news articles that the account had been restored.

“Like you, we learned about the ‘Error’ from the daily news. No one called us, wrote to us or explained to us what happened or how we can be sure it won’t happen again. We hope it won’t, because we want [to] create a conversation here on Facebook,” said the Heroes of Liberty post.

The company also tweaked Meta by offering a 10% discount on its subscriptions with the coupon code “Zuckerberg,” a reference to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. 

A Facebook spokesperson told The Washington Times in an email that the “ad account was disabled in error and has been restored.”

Ms. Mandel said the page had drawn some negative comments about the volume on former President Ronald Reagan, including one post saying the books should be burned, which may have been the catalyst for the Facebook action.

“We had a number of negative comments on the posts and we think they reported our content. They were triggered by a children’s book that portrays Ronald Reagan as a hero,” she said. “But this was not their decision. It was Facebook’s decision, they went along with them it seems.”

In a Dec. 23 message, Facebook said Heroes of Liberty had violated its policy on “Low Quality or Disruptive Content.” After the publisher appealed, Facebook said its decision was final.

“After a final review of this ad account, we confirmed it didn’t comply with our Advertising Policies or other standards,” said the message posted on Fox Business. “You can no longer advertise with this ad account and its ads and assets will remain disabled. This is our final decision.”

Ms. Mandel posted an example of an ad promoting the books on Reagan, Mr. Sowell, and Justice Barrett.

“Christmas is here, and it’s the perfect time to celebrate with your children. Celebrate family, celebrate freedom, and celebrate America,” said the Dec. 9 ad.

Heroes of Liberty plans to publish its next biographies on actor John Wayne, former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, and Founding Father Alexander Hamilton.

The books are designed for children ages 7-12.

• Valerie Richardson can be reached at vrichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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