Facebook Says Sexual and Violent Content Won’t Carry Advertising

Facebook Inc. said it won’t place ads on pages that feature sex or violence, stepping up efforts to shield brands and businesses from content deemed offensive.

Starting July 1, the owner of the largest social-networking service will expand the categories alongside which it won’t place ads. These include pages featuring any violent, graphic or sexual content, said Facebook, which already blocks ads from topics such as racist humor.

Nissan Motor Co.’s U.K. unit and lender Nationwide Building Society suspended some Facebook ads earlier this year amid complaints that the site allowed content that encouraged violence against women. Facebook is working to strike a better balance between fostering free speech and not offending marketers whose spending is vital to sales growth.

“We recognize we need to do more to prevent situations where ads are displayed alongside controversial” content, the company said in the post. “Our goal is to both preserve the freedoms of sharing on Facebook but also protect people and brands from certain types of content.”

Facebook, which has more than 1.1 billion users, said the new policy won’t have a “meaningful impact” on business.

As part of the new policies, Facebook also plans a more automated way to address ads appearing next to controversial content. The policies affect Facebook’s Pages, which typically feature celebrities, companies or businesses, and Groups, where folks with common interests or opinions connect.

“All of this will improve detection of what qualifies as questionable content,” Facebook said.

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