Nissan, other brands suspend Facebook ads over offensive content

Nissan said it acted quickly to suspend one campaign in the UK

Nissan and some other big brands have suspended advertising campaigns on Facebook after ads were apparently displayed next to offensive content on the site.

The campaigns were put on hold in the U.K. just as Facebook rolled out new policies to help it more quickly identify and remove hate speech and other forms of offensive content on its site.

Those changes were announced Tuesday following calls for action from groups including Women, Action and the Media and the Everyday Sexism Project, which pointed to images posted on Facebook that encourage or make jokes about violence against women.

The Japanese carmaker Nissan, the U.K.'s Nationwide Building Society and Unilever's Dove brand all were concerned about their ads being displayed next to such content, according to a report in the Financial Times.

A Nissan spokesman told IDG News Service it had no proof its ads had appeared alongside offensive content, "but we are working with Facebook to ensure any future advertisements can't follow users into pages that may be deemed offensive," said Nissan spokesman David Reuter.

The company acted quickly to halt an advertising campaign in the U.K. when the situation came to light, Reuter said.

Nissan hasn't made any changes to its advertising in the U.S., but "we will continue to work with [Facebook] to ensure that we can opt out of advertising on any pages that may be deemed offensive," Reuter said.

Several of the changes made to Facebook's content policies include soliciting feedback from outside experts to better evaluate reports of hateful speech.

The way the site classifies what is offensive and what is not is somewhat complicated. The site prohibits content deemed to be "directly harmful," but is okay with content that is merely offensive or controversial. The company defines harmful content as "anything organizing real world violence, theft, or property destruction, or that directly inflicts emotional distress on a specific private individual (e.g. bullying)."

Specific content categories, such as self-harm, sadistic graphic content and pornography, are listed in Facebook's community standards.

The site does not permit hate speech, "but distinguishes between serious and humorous speech," according to its community standards. "There are instances of offensive content, including distasteful humor, that are not hate speech according to our definition," Facebook says.

But hate speech in the form of "direct and serious attacks on any protected category of people based on their race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, disability or disease" is prohibited, as outlined in the company's statement of rights and responsibilities.

Women, Action and the Media is one of the groups Facebook is bringing in to assist the company in evaluating its standards around hate speech. The Boston-based group has reacted positively to Facebook's new strategies.

"We believe that this is the foundation for an effective working collaboration designed to confront gender-based hate speech effectively," the group said on its website.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags social mediainternetFacebookadvertisingsocial networkingnissanInternet-based applications and servicesUnilevernationwide

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Zach Miners

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Bitdefender 2019

This Holiday Season, protect yourself and your loved ones with the best. Buy now for Holiday Savings!

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?