Last month, Facebook found itself in the throes of a PR crisis.
Advocacy groups were sick and tired of groups and pages dedicated to celebrating violence against women, and they found a way to get Facebook's attention: Show major advertisers that their ads were popping up next to images reading "don't wrap it and tap it, tape her and rape" or "next time don't get pregnant" over the picture of a woman crumpled at the bottom of a staircase.
Once 15 companies, including Nationwide and Nissan, decided to temporarily pull ad dollars until there were policy changes, Facebook posted that it would take a more active stand against "controversial, harmful and hateful speech on Facebook."
Friday, the company released a new review policy for pages and groups that will protect users (and advertisers) from inappropriate content.
"We know that marketers work hard to promote their brands, and we take their objectives seriously," Facebook's new policy states. "While we already have rigorous review and removal policies for content against our terms, we recognize we need to do more to prevent situations where ads are displayed alongside controversial Pages and Groups. So we are taking action."
Starting Monday, Facebook will review pages and groups to see if they're appropriate for advertisers. If the page has violent, graphic, or sexual content, then it will be ad restricted, and ads will be removed a few days later.
The new ad-restricted content is more expansive than prior policies that barred racist or homophobic hate speech, for example. "Pages that are suggestive of violence or animal cruelty will be ad-restricted under the new policy, for example, as well as ones that are sexually explicit, even if they don't portray violent scenarios," Ad Age reports.
Furthermore, Facebook adds, "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."
While the review process will first be done manually, Facebook hopes that in the coming weeks, the process will become scalable and, thus, automated.
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