Facebook under fire as brands again find ads misplaced

Advertising for brands such as Tesco, Vodafone and O2 is appearing beside inappropriate content on Facebook again, nearly two years after the social network took measures to prevent this happening.

Facebook introduced the ability for brands to opt out of advertising around group pages in August 2007 after the likes of Vodafone, the COI and The AA pulled advertising from the social network when their ads were served beside the BNP’s group profile (nma 2 August 2007).

Despite this, ads for high-profile brands were this week served next to Facebook groups supporting the controversial far-right political party the BNP and Holocaust denial groups.

The industry is calling on the social network to step up content monitoring and offer greater assurances of prevention measures to advertisers.

A spokesman for Tesco, whose ads appeared next to a Holocaust denial group, said, “It’s an extremely offensive group and we wouldn’t want to be associated with it.”

An O2 spokeswoman said, “This is a breach of our standards. As soon as this was brought to our attention we took immediate action and instructed our ad to be removed from the offending Facebook page.”

Matt Simpson, chairman of the IPA Digital Media Group and group head of digital at OMD, said, “The media owner should categorically make sure ads don’t appear next to this type of inappropriate content.”

Guy Phillipson, CEO of the Internet Advertising Bureau, said, “Facebook should take the lead from MySpace. It should have people or technology to ensure advertisers can exclude ads from offensive groups.”

A Facebook spokesman said, “We give advertisers the tools to control where their ads appear. This includes the ability to make sure they don’t appear on any groups. We’re closely monitoring the groups and have already removed several of them.”

John Whittingdale, chairman of the DCMS Parliamentary Committee, said, “It’s in Facebook’s interest to give assurance to brands. If it can’t give that guarantee then advertisers won’t advertise there.”

This story first appeared on newmediaage.co.uk

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