Summary:

Facebook has announced that it will begin a more careful review of content on its platform to ensure that advertising does not appaer next to offensive material on the site.

Facebook headquarters 2
photo: Eliza Kern

Facebook announced on Friday afternoon a new policy to prevent ads from appearing next to content that is violent, graphic,or sexual in nature. The new policy, which will take effect on Monday, will identify offensive or edgy content and make sure that ads don’t appear on those pages.

For instance, pages selling adult content were previously eligible to have ads on the right-hand side of the page, but that will change. The new review policy will apply to content on Pages or Groups, and will expand the scope of which ones are ad-restricted.

The move comes after some large companies have pulled advertising from Facebook after their ads appeared next to content they didn’t anticipate. As the BBC reported, the brands Marks and Spencer and BSkyB both suspended advertising, and they pushed Facebook to adapt its policies.

The Facebook blog post explains the new policy:

“We know that marketers work hard to promote their brands, and we take their objectives seriously. While we already have rigorous review and removal policies for content against our terms, we recognize we need to do more to prevent situations where ads are displayed alongside controversial Pages and Groups. So we are taking action.

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.

For example, we will now seek to restrict ads from appearing next to Pages and Groups that contain any violent, graphic or sexual content (content that does not violate our community standards). Prior to this change, a Page selling adult products was eligible to have ads appear on its right-hand side; now there will not be ads displayed next to this type of content.”

As Facebook grows into a global media and advertising company that attracts ad dollars from some of the largest companies worldwide, questions about the type of content to allow on the platform have come from both big companies and individuals users and activists.

Just last month, Facebook announced that it would re-evaluate what it considers hate speech on the platform after users complained about offensive content. And brands pushing back against the content appearing on Facebook makes sense as they pour advertising dollars onto the social media site.

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