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Google Accepts Pot Ads Like The Ones Facebook Rejected

First Posted: 08/25/10 05:21 PM ET Updated: 05/25/11 06:30 PM ET

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Google has accepted pro-pot-legalization ads similar to those rejected by Facebook, a spokesman for the Just Say Now coalition told HuffPost Wednesday, providing a confirmation email from a Google representative.

Google also accepted ads attacking Facebook for blocking the campaign's web ads. [UPDATE: Google will allow the ads to reference to controversy but not name Facebook specifically, for trademark reasons.]

"Facebook's concocted prissiness over political advocacy is more to be disparaged than imitated. Freedom of expression is made of sterner stuff. Google deserves applause for exposing Facebook to shame," said Bruce Fein, former associate attorney general for President Reagan and a coalition member.

The text ads are straightforward."Proposition 19: Join the campaign to legalize marijuana in California," reads one.

A Facebook spokesman told HuffPost that the Just Say Now ads were banned - after initially being accepted - because they contained a pot leaf, which falls under a general ban on promoting smoking.

No such ban is outlined in the advertising guidelines. The Libertarian Party was given a different reason for its ads being blocked after being initially approved. "We do not allow ads for marijuana or political ads for the promotion of marijuana and will not allow the creation of any further Facebook Ads for this product," a Facebook representative wrote to the Libertarian Party.

"Google's decision to run the ads is an affirmation that the search network is mature enough to run ads that are clearly political speech," said Michael Whitney of Firedoglake.com, an organizing member of the Just Say Now coalition.

Google is also accepting image ads that include pot leaves, similar to those rejected by Facebook.

UPDATE: A Facebook spokeswoman emailed HuffPost to clarify the policy. "We don't allow any images of drugs, drug paraphernalia, or tobacco in ad images on Facebook. Sometimes our automated and manual processes miss these, but our policy has always been the same. Just Say Now, the Libertarian Party, and other organizations with similar objectives can continue to advertise on Facebook using different images," she said.

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