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Some Facebook ads pulled over offensive content

3:20 PM, May 29, 2013   |    comments
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(USA TODAY) - Several companies have pulled campaigns from social network Facebook after their ads started appearing next to offensive photos and posts.

The Financial Times reports Nissan and U.K.-based Nationwide are among the firms that yanked ads from Facebook after they showed up next to misogynistic content.

Nissan spokesperson David Reuter says ads serving the U.K. version of Facebook have been halted, and the automaker is working with Facebook to opt out of placing ads globally on pages with offensive content.

Skincare brand Dove, whose ads had been displayed next to misogynistic content posted to Facebook, says it's taking the issue "very seriously."

"We have been actively working with Facebook over the past few days to address the issue of gender-based hate-speech, and we welcome Facebook's commitment to take additional measures to tackle the problem," says Stacie Bright, Global Director of Communications at Dove, in a statement.

Nationwide says they have suspended Facebook advertising, but welcome efforts to how they respond to offensive material.

"As a responsible and trusted consumer brand, we do feel that sites like Facebook should have stringent processes and guidelines in place to ensure that brands are able to protect themselves from appearing alongside inappropriate content," reads a Nationwide statement.

The focus on offensive content in Facebook was sparked by an open letter sent to the social network last week on behalf of several organizations including The Everyday Sexism Project and Women, Action and the Media urging Facebook to classify content glorifying violence against girls and women as hate speech.

The letter references "groups, pages and images that explicitly condone or encourage rape or domestic violence or suggest that they are something to laugh or boast about."

"Facebook's response to the many thousands of complaints and calls to address these issues has been inadequate," reads a portion of the letter. "You have failed to make a public statement addressing the issue, respond to concerned users, or implement policies that would improve the situation."

Facebook responded to the controversy Tuesday, saying it has removed the disputed content.

"We have been working over the past several months to improve our systems to respond to reports of violations, but the guidelines used by these systems have failed to capture all the content that violates our standards," says Marne Levine, Facebook's vice president of Global Public Policy, in a statement. "We need to do better - and we will."


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