Facebook removes Google+ ad

Facebook removes Google+ ad

Summary: Facebook has removed a Google+ ad, and banned the creator from putting ads on the social network altogether.


Web developer Michael Lee Johnson decided he wanted to quickly grow his number of Google+ friends. The best place to find people willing to friend you is of course Facebook, so Johnson ran a Facebook ad asking people to add him to their Circles on Google+. Facebook was not amused.

The ad was headlined "Add Michael to Google+." It was short and to the point: "If you're lucky enough to have a Google+ account, add Michael Lee Johnson, Internet Geek, App Developer, Technological Virtuoso."

Facebook removed his ad, and banned him from running ads on the social network altogether. Johnson posted the following via his Google+ account (via TechCrunch):

LOL: I recently ran a Google+ advertisement on Facebook that got all of my campaigns suspended. - Great.

Facebook sent him the following message explaining why the ad was removed:

Your account has been disabled. All of your adverts have been stopped and should not be run again on the site under any circumstances. Generally, we disable an account if too many of its adverts violate our Terms of Use or Advertising guidelines. Unfortunately we cannot provide you with the specific violations that have been deemed abusive. Please review our Terms of Use and Advertising guidelines if you have any further questions.

Since Facebook doesn't say, it's not clear which rule – actually it could have been more than one – Johnson broke. It is worth noting, however, that the company has a Refusal of Ads clause in the Facebook Advertising Guidelines:

We may refuse ads at any time for any reason, including our determination that they promote competing products or services or negatively affect our business or relationship with our users.

There's nothing wrong with a company having guidelines that are as beneficial to it as possible. Still, I don't think Facebook should have killed all of Johnson's ad campaigns.

See also:

Topics: Apps, Google, Social Enterprise

Emil Protalinski

About Emil Protalinski

Emil is a freelance journalist writing for CNET and ZDNet. Over the years,
he has covered the tech industry for multiple publications, including Ars
Technica, Neowin, and TechSpot.

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  • RE: Facebook removes Google ad

    LOL. Facebook is scared. Good.
    • RE: Facebook removes Google ad

      @rgcustomer@... Let's say you owned a restaurant and someone came in and sat down with a large sign saying come to Joe's Pizzeria because the food is better. Would you ask him to leave. I could go on, that simple example took me all of 2 seconds to co e up with.
      • RE: Facebook removes Google ad

        @global.philosopher - would you ban that person forever from coming to that restaurant again, based on this one incident? Let's also remember that the person is a paying customer who also regularly eats there. Let's also remember that running a similar campaign on Google (e.g. "add me as a friend on Facebook") is highly unlikely to generate any negative response from Google.

        Also, purely based on their TOS, FB had the right the remove the ad but not close Michael's FB advertising account entirely.
        Alex Gerulaitis
      • RE: Facebook removes Google ad

        ur logic is wrong. selling ad is one of fb's business, right?
      • RE: Facebook removes Google ad

        @global.philosopher <br><br>Excellent analogy!!!

        @Alex G.:
        Paying customers?? Does FB charge its users for access?
    • RE: Facebook removes Google ad

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  • Facebook unwise

    Poor Facebook, you not not only lose Johnson but many others, i'm afraid.
    • RE: Facebook removes Google ad

      @sam0403 it's ok to lose the hipsters
    • RE: Facebook removes Google ad

      @sam0403 And Google+ banned William Shatner. Given the demographic of Google+, that ban offends 99.5% of Google+ users.
      Your Non Advocate
  • RE: Facebook removes Google ad

    I posted that on my FB wall.. I wonder how long it'll be before I'm banned now <g> Now back to my regularly scheduled G+ reading and posting time :-)
  • RE: Facebook removes Google ad

    lol, obviously that hipster moron was planted by google to do just that knowing it will put FB on bad light. why would he go into trouble of buying an ad, why not just twit, fb post, mail spam etc... knowing well that he's going to violate TOS
  • Seem's vaguely anti-trust

    Are TV stations allowed to ban advertising from rival networks?
    • RE: Facebook removes Google ad

      @spark555 : I'm sure they are. But I can't see CBS advertising on ABC, can you?
      Gis Bun
      • RE: Facebook removes Google ad

        @Gis Bun
        You see that all the time. Fox advertises their sporting events on every channel out there.
    • RE: Facebook removes Google ad

      @spark555 Yes, any media company that is privately owned can reject any advertisement they choose. TV, radio and newspapers have opperated this way for years, the internet is not different. When the media company pays the bills, they get to decide who advertises on their product. Do you see rival TV, radio and newspapers advertising their products on the others product, ofcourse not!
      • RE: Facebook removes Google ad

        Of course you *do*. I see DirecTV adds all the time on my RCN cable. They are required by law to allow this.
        x I'm tc
      • RE: Facebook removes Google ad


        In the UK you will see Sky TV advertisements running on the all the terrestial commerical channels. At the end of the day pretending the competition doesn't exist it's a quick road to oblivion so you might as well take their money and aim to be the best (well your audiences perception of the best in any case).
    • RE: Facebook removes Google ad

      No they are not. I forget the specific law, but tv/cable stations cannot pick and choose like that unless the ad violates a FCC law/rule.