COI joins brands pulling ads from Facebook

LONDON - The Central Office of Information has become the latest advertiser to pull ads from Facebook in a move that also includes other social networking sites.

A spokeswoman for the COI confirmed the government body has decided to withdraw advertising from Facebook, joining Virgin Media, Halifax, the Prudential and the AA in the list of brands who are boycotting the site.

However, it is not only Facebook that has been hit by the COI move but MySpace and other social networking sites as well.

Last week, Vodafone and First Direct have pulled their ads from Facebook after they were placed on the British National Party's profile page.

Vodafone is seeking talks with Facebook to ensure that if it places ads on the site again, they will not appear on the political party's page.

Both clients have said that Facebook does not allow them any control over where their ads will appear on its site.

According to a Vodafone spokeswoman, the company's public policy principles state it does not make political donations or support particular party political interests.

She said: "Therefore to avoid misunderstandings we immediately withdrew our advertising as soon as this was brought to our attention.

"We are working with our media buyer OMD to ensure that more robust controls are in place before we agree to any potential re-investment."

A First Direct spokesman said it aimed "to make sure that the places that our adverts appear are consistent with our values" and it is also reviewing its advertising on other social networking sites "for the same reasons". Its media buying agency is MindShare.

Advertisers which appeared on the BNP page today included Hotels.com and Monster.co.uk.

Facebook was unavailable for comment.

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