Facebook moves to remove ads displayed with controversial content

A new automated review process is in the works

Facebook is launching an aggressive strategy for better detecting violent, graphic, sexual and otherwise controversial content across its site and removing ads that appear alongside that content.

The changes follow other recent developments involving hate speech appearing on the site, which Facebook has vowed to better combat, though that has not stopped some marketers from pulling their ads in response.

The new detection and removal policy, which was announced Friday in a blog post, is designed to provide Facebook with a better mechanism for removing ads that appear alongside certain types of questionable content on Groups and Pages.

"While we already have rigorous review and removal policies for content against our terms, we recognise we need to do more to prevent situations where ads are displayed alongside controversial Pages and Groups," the company said.

"So we are taking action," Facebook added.

The new review process, beginning Monday, "will expand the scope of Pages and Groups that should be ad-restricted," the company said. Ads from all Pages and Groups that fall into this more comprehensive restricted list will be removed by the end of next week.

Previously, a Page selling adult products was eligible to have ads appear on its right-hand side, but going forward those ads will not be displayed next to that type of content, Facebook said. The changes will be applied to Pages and Groups containing violent, graphic and sexual content that does not otherwise violate the company's community standards.

The way Facebook classifies what is offensive content and what is not is complicated. In terms of graphic content, "we understand that graphic imagery is a regular component of current events, but must balance the needs of a diverse community," the site says in its community standards.

For instance, "sharing any graphic content for sadistic pleasure is prohibited," the site says.

Facebook introduced new policies to combat hate speech on the site last month, following the campaign of several high-profile women's groups including Women, Action and the Media, and the Everyday Sexism Project.

Around the same time, some big-name brands like Nissan and Unilever's Dove company pulled ads on the site.

The review process will be carried out manually by humans at first, "but in the coming weeks we will build a more scalable, automated way to prevent and/or remove ads" that appear next to controversial content, Facebook said.

"All this will improve detection of what qualifies as questionable content," the site said, adding, "we will continue to work aggressively on this issue with advertisers."

The changes will not impact Facebook's business, the company said.

Facebook's revenue is derived almost entirely -- 84 per cent in 2012 -- from ads.

Other ad-dependent companies are also grappling with how to deal with questionable content. Google has recently made moves to remove adult-themed blogs on its Blogger platform that also have adult advertisements.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Blog Posts

Maintaining trust in a sceptical world: The power of brand trust

The faith people have in brands creates opportunity for those brands to become trusted advisors. In turn, this builds success by increasing the brand’s profile, letting it broaden its product offering and driving stronger customer loyalty.

Dan Ratner

managing director, uberbrand

When growth stalls: How to boost growth in large organisations

The push to start new businesses continues. In Q1 2017, the number of seed and angel deals increased by 1.4 per cent compared to Q1 2016.

Con Frantzeskos

CEO, Penso

Why we need diversity in marketing

​When we read articles about the need for increased diversity in marketing land, it is often through the lens of gender.

Jodie Sangster

CEO, ADMA

Educational activities is always a prestigious approaches in taking time for the smoother operational planning to implement in the long r...

ikuyo

Save the Children's marketing chief swaps not-for-profit for education

Read more

We all know that digital marketing in order to promote a brand, products and services is by the use of electronic media. The evolution of...

Helaina Berry

Predictions: 17 digital marketing trends for 2017

Read more

Interesting insight, well explained and the examples are just apt.Thanks for sharing!

FreshMindIdeas

The politics of branding - Brand science - CMO Australia

Read more

When the world that we live in floods with gigabytes of content every day, we have to learn to be selective about it. Such educational we...

Paulina Cameron

ADMA launches education program to tackle viewability, ad fraud and brand safety

Read more

Hi, i am an Aistralian ALK patient, been on xalkori dec 13 to oct 15 and achieved remission of disease, since been on Ceritinib until no...

gary packer

Pfizer Australia adopts AI-powered digital analyst tool for sales and marketing decision making

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in