Facebook put ads in Danish broadcaster’s ad-free app

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Facebook has apologised after it placed adverts on a publicly funded TV network’s website without permission.

People who visited the website of Danish broadcaster DR via the Facebook iOS app were served with unauthorised third-party advertisements.

A spokesman for the broadcaster said it had still not been made aware of how many users had been affected.

Facebook said the incident was caused by a coding error that had since been resolved.

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News site Digiday reported that the issue first came to light last week, when a user complained about being targeted with adverts while visiting DR’s website.

DR is publicly funded via a licence fee and does not allow ads on any of its platforms.

A spokesman for Facebook said a coding error “caused some people to see interstitial ads within news content in the Facebook app”.

“We apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused,” he added.

The broadcaster said it was deeply concerned by the error.

“We are happy to see Facebook recognise the mistake and are happy that the issue has been fixed,” said DR’s distribution editor Christian Loiborg.

“We are still very unhappy with the fact that users may have been served ads alongside any visits to dr.dk and have stressed the seriousness of this to Facebook,” he added.

Last month, Facebook said that new changes to Apple’s operating system could see it lose out on most of the revenue it currently receives from ads on apps.

In the forthcoming iOS 14, apps have to explicitly ask users’ permission to collect and share data, meaning ads will no longer be able to just “follow” users to apps outside of Facebook.

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  • Facebook

  • Advertising
  • Apps


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