Facebook attempted to put out another public-relations brushfire caused by its automated-response system, but was the damage already done?
Yahoo Health updated the story of North Carolina photographer Kevin Bond and his two-month-old son, Hudson Azera Bond, who is awaiting a heart transplant due to being diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, a disease of the heart muscle.
According to Yahoo Health, the elder Bond has used several channels to raise funds for the operation, including the Hudson’s Heart Facebook page, but he ran into issues when he tried to use the social network’s boost post advertising feature.
Bond’s ad was rejected, and he received the following automated response from Facebook:
Your ad wasn’t approved because the image or video thumbnail is scary, gory or sensational, and evokes a negative response. Images including accidents, car crashes, dead and dismembered bodies, ghosts, zombie ghouls and vampires are not allowed.
The social network attempted to remedy the situation, which drew national attention, and a spokesperson emailed this statement to Yahoo Health:
This was a mistake on our part, and the ad has been reapproved. We apologize for any inconvenience this caused the family.
But was the company’s response too little, too late? Bond wrote in a post on the Hudson’s Heart page:
I read Facebook’s response on media outlets last night. They apologized for the inconvenience this caused my family. Inconvenience was never an issue. Having my beautiful son compared to dismembered bodies, vampires, zombies, etc. hurt me and my family.
The ad in question was time-sensitive. Reversing their decision days later fixes nothing. Further, the company still hasn’t contacted me directly. Had I not read their half-hearted apology on the media, I’d have no idea it existed.
He expressed similar sentiments to Yahoo Health, saying:
It hurt our whole family. Nobody wants their beautiful son compared to ghosts, zombie ghouls, dismembered bodies and vampires, and whatever else that rejection letter said.
Readers: How can Facebook avoid such situations in the future?