Facebook Confirms Ban on Two Platform Ad Networks for Deceptive Ads

After increasing reports of deceptive advertisements within some Facebook applications, Facebook has confirmed that it has banned two advertising networks from operating on the Facebook Platform.

The two ad networks, SocialHour and SocialReach, were allegedly presenting Facebook users with misleading advertisements inside third party applications, and sometimes putting Facebook user data on outside landing pages in ways that violated Facebook’s privacy policy. The ad networks are currently not serving any ads on Platform applications, and developers have turned to other networks to fill their inventory.

Facebook says it banned the ad networks for “deceptive content” and failing to correct their practices after being warned.

“We’ve received some reports of deceptive content in ads placed within apps by developers.  These ads are not from Facebook but we are concerned about any potential threat to our users’ experience.  We have had the ads removed from a number of apps and prohibited two advertising networks from providing services to applications on Facebook Platform because they were not compliant with our policies and failed to correct their advertising practices,” a Facebook spokesperson told us.

Are the suspensions permanent?

“We will evaluate each circumstance individually, and are certainly open to reinstating relationships with those who demonstrate a commitment to appropriate practices,” Facebook said.

SocialHour and SocialReach had no comment on the suspensions.

Facebook has been increasingly cracking down on Platform ad networks that make liberal use of user data to increase performance. For instance, some ad networks use friends’ photos or names in ad copy like “Can you beat their IQ score?” that falsely implies friends have previously engaged with the app or site being promoted. Sometimes, those ads prompt users to enter mobile phone information, but users often don’t know they’re signing up for a subscription service that is automatically billed to their mobile carrier every month.

In general, Facebook is trying to clean up the image of ads on the Platform to maintain user trust. In this case, Facebook warned ad networks that were engaging in behavior it deemed unacceptable a couple of weeks ago of new policies, but apparently not everyone sufficiently changed their practices in time.