This article was published on June 28, 2013

Facebook to review which Pages and Groups can show ads after complaints about inappropriate content

Facebook to review which Pages and Groups can show ads after complaints about inappropriate content

Facebook has revamped the way its advertising system works in response to concerns from major brands who were concerned about where their ads were showing up.

“Beginning on Monday, we will implement a new review process for determining which Pages and Groups should feature ads alongside their content. This process will expand the scope of Pages and Groups that should be ad-restricted. By the end of the week, we will remove ads from all Pages and Groups that fall into this new, more expansive restricted list,” the company said.

So, for example, Facebook will now look at restricting ads on Pages and Groups that contain violent, graphic or sexual content as determined by its community guidelines. Before the change, a Page selling adult content could have ads down the right-hand side. This will no longer be the case from Monday.

The decision is at least partially in response to British broadcaster BSkyB and retailer Marks and Spencer (M&S), both of which suspended part of their advertising on the social network over concerns of their ads showing up on Pages with inappropriate content.

According to the BBC on Friday, Facebook has been in talks to try and appease the two significant spenders after the companies said they had concerns about their ads showing up on a Facebook page called “cute and gay boys” featuring photos of teenage boys.

This isn’t to say it’s the end for either company advertising on the social network, but both are understood to be reviewing the situation very closely.

“Marks & Spencer does not tolerate any inappropriate use or positioning of its brand and  has very clear policies that govern where and how our brand is used. We take any suggestion that these policies are not being adhered to very seriously and always investigate them thoroughly,” an M&S spokesperson said.

“Our investigation has established that this issue very specifically relates to a form of marketing called retargeting which is based on the internet usage of the person viewing the pages. We are now working very closely with Facebook to understand the measures that they are taking to try and prevent this from happening again.”

We got in touch with BSkyB but it hadn’t come back to us with a statement at the time of publication.

This is by no means the first time that Facebook has come under fire for the content it allows on the site, some of which is eventually removed and some of which may be deemed offensive to some but not outside of its community guidelines.

Just last month Women, Action and The Media, The Everyday Sexism Project, and the coalition they represent forced an acknowledgment out of Facebook that the content on some of the pages don’t meet its community guidelines and that its “systems to identify and remove hate speech have failed to work as effectively as we would like, particularly around issues of gender-based hate.”

Headline image via KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images