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BizReport : Social Marketing : August 10, 2007

Will Facebook's new opt out option bring back advertisers?

After several large British companies recently withdrew their advertising with Facebook, the social networking website has updated its system to give advertisers more control over where their ads appear.

by Helen Leggatt

facebook%20logo.gifVodafone, the Central Office of Information and Virgin Media were just some of the large companies who withdrew their advertising campaigns from Facebook. Why? Because their ads were being shown alongside the profile of a far-right, British political party, the BNP. Even the British government stepped in, banning all advertising on Facebook.

"We weren't entirely prepared for it or we would have taken action to try to resolve it before it even got to the press," said Owen Van Natta, Facebook's chief operating officer.

Facebook has dealt speedily with the problem and today announced new changes to its system. A new opt out feature will enable advertisers to block specific areas of the site to prevent their ads from appearing there.

While none of the companies that withdrew their campaigns have yet confirmed any decision to re-start their campaigns with Facebook, it seems Virgin Media is happy to keep its options open. TimesOnline reported a spokesman for the company as saying, "The issue on these sites has been that we haven't able to be confident what type of content our ads are appearing next to, but if they can find a way around that, then we'll definitely be back on board.”

Tags: advertisers, BNP, Facebook, social networking

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