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HOUSTON, May 7, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Local online dating website Neumate reports that after spending tens of thousands of dollars to advertise on the popular social networking site Facebook, Neumate co-founders Shmuel Gordon and Michael Fradkin discovered one day that the Facebook Ad Team had removed all of Neumate's ads without warning. The explanation offered was that Facebook had updated its policies regarding ads that promote online dating services. The previous policy specified only that online dating ads not contain "provocative or sexually suggestive" images; the new policy states that online dating ads are only permitted from "approved partners."
Although an announcement was made that applications to become an approved partner would be accepted starting on February 15, the announcement was removed from the site, and Facebook reports that it is not currently considering online dating sites for approval.
Gordon and Fradkin say they agree that advertising guidelines are an important way to make sure that people using social networking sites are not shown images that they find inappropriate. However, there is evidence that the new policy has not been effective in preventing questionable ads from reaching users. Recent screen shots of ads from Facebook's approved partners, which include the popular dating site Match, reveal suggestive images that feature scantily clad women in provocative poses. "Having women portrayed in this manner on a site that people view on a daily basis is not good," Gordon says.
Neumate's ads avoid sexualized images and typically feature a combination of text and the Neumate logo. Gordon and Fradkin say that the inappropriate online dating ads currently running on Facebook not only demonstrate problems with the online dating industry that they hope Neumate will answer but also show how Facebook fails to protect its users from content that they don't want to see. "They're not doing their job," says Gordon.
Neumate's recent Facebook ads were part of a campaign to raise awareness in the Houston area about the growing site, which is made up of local communities and touts itself as having one of the most flexible membership plans available. The Facebook ads were intended to be a major segment of the campaign; currently, Neumate is re-evaluating its advertising plan and actively seeking outlets that hold advertisers to high standards for the content they present for publication.
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