Social networking company to apply new measures from Monday following pressure from advertisers

Facebook is to crack down on ads running next to offensive material by launching a new system that will create a blacklist of pages and groups that contain any violent, graphic or sexual content, even if it previously passed its community standards.

The social networking company will apply the new measures from Monday, following mounting pressure from advertisers such as Nissan, Nationwide and BSkyB, which have pulled campaigns over concerns about the content of web pages where they appeared.

Sky's ad for an M&S voucher promotion was placed on a Facebook page called "cute and gay boys", according to BBC News.

Facebook intends to start with a manual review of every potentially controversial page or group so that they can be identified to stop ad campaigns appearing on them in the future.

"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)," the company said. "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 said that the aborious manual review will be completed by the end of next week, and a greatly expanded restricted list of pages and groups where ads are blocked will be created.

"We know that marketers work hard to promote their brands, and we take their objectives seriously," the company said. "While we already have rigorous review and removal policies for content against our terms, we recognise we need to do more to prevent situations where ads are displayed alongside controversial Pages and Groups."

Facebook said that following the manual cull it intends to build a "more scalable, automated way to prevent and/or remove ads appearing next to controversial content" that will be rolled out "in the coming weeks".

"All of this will improve detection of what qualifies as questionable content, which means we'll do a better job making sure advertising messages appear next to brand-appropriate Pages and Groups," the company said. "While these changes won't have a meaningful impact on Facebook's business, they will result in benefits to people and marketers".

© Guardian News and Media 2013

[Image via Agence France-Presse]