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Facebook apologizes for sponsored pro-Islamophobia ad

Last Updated Apr 20, 2017 at 7:34 pm EDT

Facebook is apologizing after an ad celebrating Islamophobia slipped through its censors and was posted across the world’s biggest social media site.

The sponsored ad promoted an event encouraging people to celebrate “Islamophobia Day” on April 23 — one month after an anti-Islamophobia motion was passed in the Canada’s House of Commons.

“We want our message to be clear: If Islamophobia means we can’t criticize Islam as a belief system, then we want to show that we can and will,” the ad reads.

“We do not want to foster a hatred against Muslim Canadians; what we want to do is preserve a culture of Freedom of Expression, even when it is used to criticize the Islamic faith.”

Facebook user David John Mason said the sponsored ad popped up in his feed.

“When I opened Facebook it was right there, front and centre, spreading all of its hateful language and messages,” he explained.

Mason said he and several friends reported the ad as offensive, but Facebook defended the promotion, saying it didn’t go against any of their specific community standards.

“To allow a post to get posted in the first place is somewhat understandable because they have millions of ads,” Mason said. “But to go a step further and not take it down when it’s brought to their attention makes them, I think, in my mind, complicit in the spread of the hate language.”

After CityNews contacted Facebook about the post, the ad was removed.

“We’re very sorry about this mistake,” a Facebook spokesperson said in email to CityNews. “This ad violated our ad policies and was removed as soon as we were able to investigate. Our team reviews millions of advertisements each week, and we sometimes make mistakes.”