Facebook denies banning user over Google+ advert

Facebook has denied banning a user because he posted an advert to attract followers to his Google+ account.

Web application developer Michael Lee Johnson claims he bought advertising space on Facebook to encourage people to follow him on Google's new social media website. Mr Johnson says the advert was pulled by Facebook, which then disabled his advertising account.

However, in a statement, Facebook denied closing down Mr Johnson's account because of the advert.

A spokeswoman said: "As many companies do, and has been our policy for quite some time, we reserve the right not to run ads that promote competitive products or services.

"In this specific case, we did not disable any accounts as a result of running ads for competitive services. The account in question was, in fact, a separate account that was disabled for violating other parts of our terms of service. In accordance with our policy, we did stop running the specific ads, but this action did not result in the deactivation of any accounts."

Reports of the advert being pulled led some commentators to suggest Facebook was becoming concerned with the growth of Google+, which now has more than 10 million users.

But the Facebook spokeswoman said it welcomes the presence of Google in the social media market because it validates its belief that the web is being rebuilt around people.

Having a social experience on the web is a good thing and 'no single company is going to own that experience', said the spokeswoman.

She added that the web becoming more social is still in the early days and there are opportunities for innovation everywhere.

Although Mr Johnson's advert has been removed, the resultant stories have helped boost his follower account on Google+. One of his posts has been shared more than a thousand times and has a similar amount of pluses, so he may feel the advert has served its purpose.