Guilford County has had so much trouble giving away free money to local businesses that it’s now started to advertise the fact that the money is available – but changes in Facebook’s rules regarding election ads have been putting a crimp in the county’s ad campaign attempt.

The funds the county is giving away are part of nearly $94 million in federal grant funds that Guilford County received to address problems and financial loss caused by the pandemic shutdowns. The money is meant for those businesses that have been hit by the coronavirus.

The ads should be showing up on Facebook by the time you read this, but Guilford County Clerk to the Board Robin Keller said that there’s been a snafu when it comes to running those social media ads.

“Facebook is being a little weird with considering it during election season,” Keller told the Guilford County commissioners during a Thursday, Aug. 27 work session.

Facebook has been under fire this year for allowing misleading campaign ads and that has resulted in questions from the social media giant when Guilford County attempted to place its ads.

“They changed their policy, so we have to certify that we are a government and we’re not running political ads,” Keller said. “So, we have some extra hoops – they keep turning it off on us.”

Keller said people should now be seeing the ads on social media.

The ads are also running on television and billboards.

Commissioner Kay Cashion told other county commissioners in the work session that she’s been surprised at how many people don’t know the money is available. Cashion said she recently stopped into a local business and the owner began telling her how hard the coronavirus had hit the establishment. Cashion said she told the woman about the county’s business grant program and she was delighted.

“She had no idea it was available,” Cashion said. “If I hadn’t stopped in there with someone, she would not have known.” “I think that people don’t know and that infusion will make the difference.”