Facebook promised to “do better” in a Tuesday afternoon announcement that it will reverse its policy.
Last week, activists launched a campaign that urged companies to boycott Facebook advertising because the social media network allows users to post images of domestic violence against women, while banning advertisements about women’s health. More than a dozen companies have pulled their advertising as a result, including online bank Nationwide UK, Nissan UK, and J Street.
Many larger companies have been slower to respond, including two companies that market brands specifically to women. Dove, a Unilever brand that is running a “self-esteem” ad campaign for women, is facing pressure on Twitter, while Procter & Gamble’s response was, “We can’t control what content they [our advertising] pops up next to. Obviously it’s a shame that our ad happened to pop up next to it.”
Zappos replied that users who are upset by an ad appearing next to a date rape image “click the X to delete the ad.” Though Zipcar has not stopped advertising it “expressed to Facebook the critical need to block this content from appearing.” And Audible has responded that it will not take down advertising. “Audible does not condone or endorse violence against women,” but it “takes pride in and respects the rules that govern our Facebook community and because of this we do not delete negative posts. However, we must delete, and will continue to delete, any content that contains offensive, graphic images.”
Facebook’s rules, however, appear to be enforced unevenly. A Facebook spokesperson told ThinkProgress that content featuring battered women, rape, and violence falls under “poor taste” or “crude attempts at humor” and does not violate its policies. And while Facebook screens anti-Semitic, Islamaphobic, and homophobic hate speech, the same standards do not apply to images of violence against women. At the same time, Facebook rejected an ad about breast cancer because it showed a woman’s breast.
An Audible spokesperson reached out to ThinkProgress:
Our pride in the Audible community on Facebook in no way dictates whether we will or will not decide to pull our advertising from Facebook. To date, we did get Facebook to remove the offensive pages immediately, and we are working diligently to get Facebook to address this issue more aggressively and effectively going forward.
The post has been updated with Audible’s original statement.
Since Tuesday morning, two additional companies have disassociated from Facebook advertising, bringing the total to 15. Find the full list here.