Facebook is the latest company to drink the morally tainted water, it seems. Friday,
Facebook announced that the social network will strip ads from any Facebook pages that display controversial content - whoa, that's a loaded statement. But, let's backtrack a bit, shall we?
The New Moral Code
It seems like it all began a few weeks ago when Google announced a plan to get rid of all child pornography sites on the web. Google plans to set up a database that would allow watch groups to report illegal content. After that was done, Google then announced that any site on its blogging platform, Blogger, would be taken down if the site contained adult content. Blogger users received that statement just a few days ago.
Now, Facebook is cutting ads from pages that are controversial. Okay, Facebook, could the term "controversial" be better defined, perhaps? Facebook's official stance is "...while we already have rigorous review and removal policies for content...we recognize we need to do more to prevent situations where ads are displayed alongside controversial Pages and Groups."
Still, the social network hasn't made the term "controversial" clear. I'm going to assume that Facebook is talking about groups and pages that provoke public outrage, but it's really hard to get at the core of what Facebook wants to do here. Technically, it seems, the pages that will be punished by Facebook aren't doing anything wrong, but that won't stop the social network.
Facebook already punishes groups and pages for content that the company deems lewd. Frequently, companies are asked to take down photographs or other offensive content. But, Facebook isn't just taking down pages now.
The company aims to take down ads on pages, so that advertisers aren't offended when company ads are listed next to hate groups and the like. After all, a "wholesome" company like Coca-Cola, for example, doesn't want the kind of publicity that goes along with running an ad next to a hate group.
Want it or not, people link ads with the pages that they are displayed on - that's what the entire advertising industry is built on. But, advertisers should have more control over where ads are placed, and this, it seems, is what Facebook is trying to do.
The social network has stated that the company will go through group pages manually and remove all ads that appear on those controversial pages. What can you do if ads are stripped from your page?
Course of Action
While I still am not clear on what Facebook deems controversial, it's relatively apparent that hate groups, violent groups, and, possibly, groups that post offensive photographs will all be targeted. If you run one of these pages, expect your ads to be stripped - there's little that can be done about it.
If ads are taken down from your page for no good reason, you can contact Facebook and protest. But, really, you have to be completely innocent here. There's some kind of moral fight going around the Internet, and Facebook has just jumped on the bandwagon.