Facebook does not allow the advertising of knives on its site. However, those wishing to reach knife enthusiasts can use a number of other routes available in social media.
The Facebook ban is part of the social media giant’s detailed rules on what is and is not allowed on the site. While Facebook has come under fire for allowing many kinds of advertising and political propaganda on its site, the advertising of knives is strictly banned.
The Facebook Policy
On the Facebook Advertising Policies webpage, an entire page focuses on weapons, ammunition or explosives. Knives are included on a list of other items that have absolutely nothing to do with knives.
The list includes:
- Firearms, including firearms parts, ammunition, paintball guns and BB guns
- Firearm silencers or suppressors
- Weapons of any kind, including pepper spray, non-culinary knives/blades/spears, tasers, nunchucks, batons or weapons intended for self-defense
- Fireworks and explosives
- Ads promoting the brandishing of firearms
That list raises the question of what a “culinary spear” might look like. But for those who wish to advertise knives, the rule is clear. Unless you are selling culinary or kitchen knives, you can’t do it on Facebook.
Confusion on Facebook
The Facebook policy has led to confusion. And that’s beyond the fact that one could argue a chef’s knife is every bit as “dangerous” as a hunting knife. Or that fact that plenty of knives used for camping are often put to culinary use.
The confusion has sprung from the fact that Facebook sometimes pulls knife ads even for knives that are explicitly culinary. For example, the social media site pulled down advertising for an artisan culinary knife company in Canada.
“We built a really good community there, but they banned us recently from advertising because they said we sold weapons and ammunition,” the company owner told CBC News Calgary. “We sell kitchen knives. The only thing we’re dangerous to is tomatoes.”
He eventually got the ban lifted by complaining about it on Twitter.
For those looking to steer clear of Facebook altogether, there are other outlets that will allow for the advertising of knives.
Getting your own YouTube channel is a great way to reach new customers. Make sure you put your contact information into the “about” section so that interested parties can contact you. Once you are established and have started to add videos, search for others who might have an interest in the knives you offer and look in their “about” section for contact information.
Pinterest can work in the same way. Post attractive images of your products and make connections with others on the site who share your interests and might buy your products.
Another new and intriguing choice is Vero. Founded by a billionaire from Lebanon, the site offers an ad-free experience and plans to eventually charge a subscription fee. It promises not to use data mining or algorithms to influence users’ behavior. It also offers a new way for smaller companies to advertise their knives.
The Facebook ban on “non-culinary knives” could keep companies from reaching thousands, and it’s frustrating for those who have built up a network. But other sites offer smart knife companies a chance to promote their wares.