Sex tech startups protest outside Facebook for banning their ads

Sex tech startups protest outside Facebook for banning their ads



The protestors brought posters with rejected ads. 

Dame Products / Unbound

Supporters, founders and employees of sex tech and women’s wellness startups like Dame Products and Unbound Babes assembled outside Facebook’s New York office Wednesday. The crowd protested the social media site’s policies, which don’t let the companies run ads for their products. 

Polly Rodriguez, the CEO and co-founder of Unbound Babes, told CNET the event had a turnout of 40 to 50 founders, activists and educators.

“Our goal was to raise awareness on the double standard, and I feel pretty strongly we did just that,” Rodriguez said in an emailed statement.

Alexandra Fine, CEO and co-founder of Dame Products, added that the inability to advertise “created a great deal of drag on our mission.”

Advertising is a necessary and important part of connecting people to valuable solutions,” she said Wednesday. “There are millions of people who stand to improve their lives with our products, and they will have no idea we exist until we’re allowed to make contact with them. This doesn’t just impact a few businesses — it impacts the health and happiness of everyone who has sex.”

The protests were along the lines of the Approved, Not Approved website that the two startups launched earlier this month. Approved, Not Approved is a game that lets you decide whether an advertisement would or wouldn’t be allowed for public consumption. 


Dame Products / Unbound

In June, Dame Products also sued the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority for rejecting their ads for vibrators. 

The sex tech protest isn’t the first one Facebook’s New York office has seen. In June, dozens of anti-censorship activists shed their clothes to protest the social media site’s nudity rules. In the wake of the protest, Facebook began talks of compromise with the activists.

The social media site appears to be taking the same approach this time.

“We have had open lines of communication with both companies about our policies and are always taking feedback. We are working to further clarify our policies in this space in the near future,” a Facebook spokesperson said in an email. 

Facebook also pointed out its advertising policy that refers to adult products and services. The policy says that ads can’t promote the sale of adult products and services unless it’s family planning or contraception. In the case of contraceptives, the ad must focus on the “contraceptive features” of the product and not “sexual pleasure or sexual enhancement.” The ad also has to be targeted to users 18 years or older.

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