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Facebook to remove ads from pages with sex and violence after complaints

Advertisers including Marks and Spencer and BSkyB pulled ads from Facebook after they appeared alongside pages showing pictures of teenage boys.

The entrance to the Facebook campus in Menlo Park, California
The entrance to the Facebook campus in Menlo Park, California
Image: AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

FACEBOOK IS TO remove ads from pages which contain violent, graphic or sexual content as part of a major review after a series of complaints from advertisers.

It follows concerns from companies about their advertisements appearing next to content which could be considered objectionable, but which does not technically break Facebook’s community guidelines and so may not be removed by the site.

Marks and Spencer and BSkyB both pulled some of their ads recently after they appeared alongside a Facebook page called “cute and gay boys” which featured photographs of teenage boys.

In a blog post published on Friday, Facebook said it was taking action because it had realised it needed to do more to prevent ads being displayed beside controversial pages and groups.

“Our goal is to both preserve the freedoms of sharing on Facebook but also protect people and brands from certain types of content,” the post said.

Starting on Monday, the site will introduce a week-long review process to determine which pages should and should not have ads running alongside them.

“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 post said.

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.

Facebook said that the changes will not have a meaningful impact on its business but will result in benefits to “people and marketers”.

Most of Facebook’s revenue – 84 per cent – comes from advertisements.

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