Facebook is recently looking into cutting off ads from Breitbart, a website that’s considered by many as "far right." As of the moment, Breitbart is able to distribute its ads via Facebook's ad network. However, some people are claiming that Breitbart ads violate Facebook's rules and they should be halted.
An official acknowledgment that Facebook will look into the issue came from Carolyn Everson, the marketing VP of Facebook. An online activist group known as Sleeping Giants recently sent Facebook a complaint about Breitbart's ads and how they violate Facebook's terms and conditions.
Facebook's ad network was introduced in 2014. The system works similar to Google's ad business where the advertisers are allowed to display their ads on the website and app. As of the moment, Facebook's ad network is the biggest source of revenue for the company.
The complaint against Breitbart's ads actually started last year. The most vocal about the issue is Sleeping Giants and many other groups rallied behind them. The Sleeping Giants and other supporters began pushing harder about the Breitbart ads issue when AppNexus decided that it was discontinuing Breitbart's ads from showing on their network.
Bear in mind that Breitbart is being led by Steve Bannon, Trump’s former chief strategist.
Requesting for a specific ad to be shut down on Facebook is not simple. Facebook tries its best to take no political sides. However, Sleeping Giants is reasoning with Facebook that Breitbart's ads are violating Facebook's community standards, specifically on the subject of not allowing advertisers to display ads that may discriminate or encourage discrimination based on ethnicity, religion, or sex.
As of the moment, Sleeping Giants have approximately 40,000 followers on Facebook. The group is pressing Facebook to make a decision about the issue by claiming that Breitbart is the "litmus test" when it comes to Facebook's adherence to its own community standards.
According to Brian Boland, the vice president of Facebook's publisher solutions, "Advertisers have full control over where their ads are going to appear. If the advertisers do not want their ads appearing on a specific app or site, they can simply block the app or site."
Brian Boland added that Facebook has strict guidelines when it comes to what advertisers can show on Facebook's ad network. In fact, Facebook is taking a more reactive approach to monitoring ads.
This means that Facebook has a team of curators that approves or denies ad requests from advertisers. If an ad gets approved, Facebook will continue monitoring the ads for changes to ensure that that the ads are adhering to community standards.
The Breitbart ads issue is a bit tricky in a way because Facebook is a private company. This means that the government has little power when it comes to intervening with the issue. As of the moment, the strategy employed by Sleeping Giants is putting Facebook in the spotlight to see whether they have transparently cut enforcement to their rules and regulations.