Earlier today, a BBC report stated that Marks and Spencer and BSkyB had pulled “all or part of their spending” on Facebook after a BSkyB ad (which was “promoting an M&S voucher”) was shown alongside a Facebook Page that was titled “cute and gay boys” and included photos of teenage boys. The story said Facebook was going to make an announcement to address these types of concerns later today.
The Facebook post doesn’t mention any specific advertisers, and regardless of whether the decision was prompted by this incident, it seems to address a larger issue — leaving room on the site for potentially controversial content without making advertisers uncomfortable. Facebook already had restrictions on both content and on the types of Pages and Groups where ads could be shown, but it says the new policy “will expand the scope of Pages and Groups that should be ad-restricted”:
For example, we will now seek to restrict ads from appearing next to Pages and Groups that contain any violent, graphic or sexual content (as determined by our guidelines). 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.
The company says that the reviews will be conducted manually at first, but it plans to develop “a more scalable, automated” process in the next few weeks. Ads should be removed from existing Pages and Groups that fall onto the “new, more expansive restricted list” by the end of next week.
In a statement provided via email, Sprint Vice President of Digital Scott Zalaznik said, “We appreciate our continued corporate partnership with Facebook and are pleased with their rapid response to addressing brand-protection issues.”