At least six British companies pulled out of Facebook after their ads appeared on the pages of the right-wing British National Party.
First Direct bank, mobile phone giant Vodafone, Virgin Media, the Automobile Association, Halifax Bank and the Prudential all have withdrawn their ads. The firms decided to pull their ads from the networking Web site after discovering their appearance on the pages of a political party long associated with anti-Semitic activity in Britain.
Virgin said it made the decision to “protect its brand.” First Direct spokesman Rob Skinner said, “We have got to make sure that the places we advertise are consistent with our own values and identity.” Facebook has declined to comment on the decisions.
Though British National Party leaders deny their campaigns are anti-Semitic, in 1997 party leader Nick Griffin asserted in his pamphlet “Who are the Mindbenders?” that “very few people in Britain are aware of the huge influence over the mass media exercised by a certain ethnic minority, namely the Jews.”
A Vodafone spokesperson said the company would resume advertising only when “more robust controls” were in place to specify where their ads would appear. Ads on Facebook run on random rotation.