Chad Robichaux, the founder of the Mighty Oaks Foundation, a faith-based organization that helps veterans, has shown evidence that Google blacklisted the term “Christian” from its Google Ads advertising platform, but the keyword “Muslim” is allowed to be included with no issues. Robichaux told Breitbart News that banning faith-based keywords in advertising is “absolutely crippling” to the organization’s growth.
Recently, Chad Robichaux, a Force Reconnaissance Marine and founder of the Mighty Oaks Foundation, which helps military veterans dealing with PTSD, explained on social media that ads posted through Google Ads with the keyword “Christian” included were not allowed. Robichaux tested whether this applied to all religious language and references but found that the term “Muslim” was accepted by Google Ads with no issues. Robichaux’s initial tweet showing the “Christian” term being refused can be seen below:
We ran a @YouTube ad for our veterans ministry outreach for those in need & it was denied for the word “Christian”. Insane! #Censorship should terrify every American; conservative or liberal, Christian or Muslim. This bias is a dangerous course for America. @MightyOaksFDN pic.twitter.com/at5CsAfEht
— Chad Robichaux (@ChadRobo) July 23, 2019
Robichaux then attempted to use the term “Muslim” which was accepted by Google Ads:
Ive been asked if we tried “Muslim” in lieu of “Christian” for our @YouTube @Google veteran ministry ad that was denied for @MightyOaksFDN
We did & it approves Muslim but denies Christian. That said, Muslim or any religious belief should be approved equally. Yet, clearly a bias. pic.twitter.com/azUN1ZXY0Z
— Chad Robichaux (@ChadRobo) July 23, 2019
Robichaux appeared on Breitbart News Tonight on Tuesday to discuss the incident and the other forms of censorship that his organization has faced. He stated: “One of our YouTube videos might get like 2,000 views, and then we have someone like Allen West come on who’s got quite a bit of notoriety and we get, like, 60 views… I would assume there’s some suppression there, I can’t prove that but what I can prove is this ad, in particular, we’re talking about.”
Further discussing the banned “Christian” keyword, Robichaux stated: “Honestly, I hope I’m not on the radio station next week badgering them, I hope they do the right thing and change this policy.” Listen to the full interview below:
Breitbart News reached out to Robichaux about the issue, he responded stating:
As a faith-based non-profit organization who serves our nation’s military warriors and families, Mighty Oaks Foundation’s outreach is crucial to our mission. We use and rely on the continued functioning of the major social media platforms daily to deliver our message, including the ability to use Google and YouTube’s tools for ads and sharing media and testimony. We produce a program weekly called Mighty Oaks Show, which is based on YouTube and shared and promoted with ads to their platform. Yesterday, our Marketing Team, went to create an ad to promote this week’s guest Darrin Dick, the Director & Producer of the new documentary Unforgotten, a story about his veteran grandfather, faith and his memories of the almost forgotten Korean War. When trying to use the keyword, Christian, to help target the ad at our audience, they received this response, “The following keywords violate Google Ads advertising policies. Please remove the unacceptable content to continue. Unacceptable Content as Keyword: “Christian.’” This is the first time we have encountered anything so extreme, it blocked us from proceeding to place the ad without deleting the keyword.
Having the advantage of a front-row seat for the media output of our organization, I have witnessed many issues that may not sound distressing on their own, but in concert with many other faith-based, conservative and patriotic organizations, and in-sight of the negative impact they have had on our growth, these consistent issues become very concerning. First and foremost, posts about issues that our veterans are facing had been declined many times for Facebook “boosts,” and classified as political issues of national importance, when our posts have no political alignment to the left or right, our only alignment is with our nation’s veterans and the military community. This roadblock becomes critical when you look at the social media landscape, and the reach of our message has been consistently diminished through both search and post algorithms, making ads a necessary evil for us to reach those who may desperately need our message and assistance.
Robichaux further discussed the work that the Mighty Oak Foundation does and how limiting their advertisements can prevent individuals seeking help from finding them:
Ultimately, as a faith-based organization prohibiting us to use the word “Christian” is absolutely crippling to our growth and our ability to reach those who need our help and message. The Mighty Oaks Foundation relies on social platforms to reach the military communities struggling with PTSD, extreme rates of divorce and the 20+ per day suicide epidemic. Since 2011, Mighty Oaks has served over 100,000 active duty military through Spiritual Resiliency Programs and has over 2,750 graduates from our intensive combat trauma program. We host over 30 one-week programs per year for active military, veterans and spouses all for free to include travel to our four ranches in TX, OH, VA and CA. These restrictions and bias may not seem like much to an outsider, or those who don’t rely on digital media to reach audiences, but for us, we are being restricted from sharing a lifesaving outreach to those who desperately need our help.
Read more about the work that Chad Robichaux and the Mighty Oak Foundation do here.
Google referred Breitbart News to a statement released by YouTube on Twitter which confirmed that the company does not allow uers to be targeted by religion, without explaining why “muslim” was accepted by the system.
We know that religious beliefs are personal, so we don’t allow advertisers to target users on the basis of religion. Beyond that, we don’t have policies against advertising that includes religious terms like “Christian”.
— TeamYouTube (@TeamYouTube) July 24, 2019