Facebook will remove adverts from restricted content after M&S and Sky become the latest to suspend their advertising

New system promises to stop adverts appearing next to controversial or offensive material

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The Independent Online

Facebook will move to stop adverts appearing next to sexually graphic or violent content, after a number of major companies pulled their advertising campaigns from the site.

Nissan, Marks and Spencer, BskyB and Nationwide were some of the major companies to suspend their advertising with the social networking giant over concerns that their promotions could be placed next to sexual, offensive or violent material.

Their move came after a Sky advert promoting a Marks and Spencer voucher was placed next to an advert for “cute and gay boys” featuring pictures of teenagers, the Press Association reports.

In response, Facebook announced that a new screening process would begin on Monday to help determine which pages will and will not feature advertisements.

By the end of the week, the site promised to have all ads removed from pages that fell into the newly expanded "ad-restricted" list. 

Their current manual review process would be improved in scale by introducing an automated system in the near future to determine where adverts should be placed.

Facebook wrote: “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.

“For example, we will now seek to restrict ads from appearing next to Pages and Groups that contain any violent, graphic or sexual content (content that does not violate our community standards).”

“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.”

Facebook has already come under pressure from campaign groups such as Everyday Media Sexism, who used hashtags such as #FBrape to pressure the site into removing pictures of abused women.

Facebook have also had to act quickly after students at different universities created rapid-growing groups where their peers could go on and rate their sexual partners. Details would typically be posted anonymously but would explicitly discuss the partner, who had no control over the content posted.

In the statement Facebook said that they are “not going to be perfect”, but committed to being “much better”.