Mafia Wars ad on Facebook banned in the UK

Zynga have gotten themselves in trouble again, this time over an advertisement for Mafia Wars running on Facebook's ad platform. The ad was banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) which is a self-regulating organization in the United Kingdom that acts as a watchdog over advertising across all forms of media.

The controversial ad (shown to the right) depicted a young adult male in a gray hooded sweatshirt holding a knife up in a threatening manner. Below the image was the following text: "Earn your street cred and be respected. Advance from gangster to head boss in Mafia Wars. Play now." The ASA are claiming that this ad's message is saying that carrying a weapon is the way to earn respect and be successful.

Zynga have passed the blame onto Facebook, stating that the ad did have to go through Facebook's approval process. They are also claiming that the ad was targeted at adults who should be capable of understanding the context of the ad.

While Facebook haven't acknowledged the social impact of the threatening message, the ad was removed due to violating their policy that prevents ads from displaying pictures of weapons.

Do you think this ad was offensive?

(Source: The Guardian UK)