A number of UK firms have suspended Facebook advertising activity after a campaign group alerted them their adverts could potentially appear alongside content glorifying violence against women.

Nationwide, Nissan and Dove have all put their advertising campaigns on hold until the social networking site confirmed the situation was rectified.

The issue was brought to the fore last week by the group Women, Action and the Media, who started a campaign last week aimed at pressuring Facebook to withdraw so called ‘hate speech’.

Usually targeted ads, a useful form of social media marketing for firms on sites such as Facebook, identify products or items a user has shown interest in and then generates an advert to a similar product on the pages the person visits.

However, after being alerted by Women, Action and the Media to some of the more unsavoury content on the site glorifying rape and the physical abuse of women, firms such as Nationwide and Dove were concerned that due to targeted advertising, their ads might appear next to such content. Resultantly they have now decided to temporarily shelf their ads.

Facebook vice president of global public policy, Marne Levine, commented on the issue on the Facebook blog.

She said: “In recent days, it has become clear that our systems to identify and remove hate speech have failed to work as effectively as we would like, particularly around issues of gender-based hate.

“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. We need to do better – and we will.”

Nissan has since confirmed it will restart its Facebook ads in light of the sites progress in tackling the issue, but would continue to monitor the issue closely.

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About the author:

Martin Boonham is an online copywriter for ClickThrough Marketing, he has worked there since October 2012. He has a Masters in Print Journalism from Nottingham Trent University, where he also gained his NCTJ qualification at the same time; achieving qualifications in subbing, shorthand and media law.