Facebook Pulls Ads from Controversial Pages in Ongoing Content War

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Facebook will pull ads from pages that contain violent or sexual content after months of contention with brands, users and privacy advocates. 

The social network announced it will start a manual review of pages containing sensitive content with a team of hundreds of employees in offices worldwide, as it attempts to find a balance between a users’ freedom to post content and where a brands’ ad appears.

“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.[more] 

The manual review process will scour algorithms to surface tens of thousands of pages with high likelihood of controversial content. “But in the coming weeks, we will build a more scalable, automated way to prevent and/or remove ads appearing next to controversial content,” the company said. 

The review will strip advertising from any pages and groups that contain violent, graphic or sexual content (that abides by Facebook’s Community Standards) in a move that the social network hopes will put an end to the months-long controversy over questionable content. Near the end of May, feminist groups brought to light the untold amount of Facebook content that glorified violence against women and promoted “rape culture.” The campaign, supported by an online petition and over 50 organizations, pressured brands whose ads appeared on such pages to cease advertising on the platform until Facebook changed its guidelines. Several UK companies, including Nissan UK and Nationwide Building Society as well as Zipcar and BSkyB pulled their ads from the network, while Zappos, Dove and American Express issued statements saying they did not support violence against women.

Facebook previously announced that it would change its Community Guidelines to reflect new standards on violent content as well as better train its staff to recognize harmful content. Now, it is reacting to a direct request from brands to develop safeguards that prevent ads from appearing next to any and all inappropriate content on the site. 

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