Following the accusation of publishing rule-breaking adverts that push expensive loans to young people, Facebook has begun an investigation into the ads in question.

According to debt charity Credit Action, adverts on the social networking site offering cheap loans, in particular those secured against a salary or car, break advertising regulations.

"Lots of credit companies, especially payday and logbook loans companies, are using the medium [social networking] to advertise their products. It is such a popular method because they can target young people with whom the site is so popular," commented the charity.

Some of the Facebook adverts contravene UK credit advertising regulations because they fail to give details of interest rates.

Malcolm Hurlston Chairman of Credit Action's board of trustees, explained that while some some adverts do include the rates of APR "they are only in the frequently asked questions section, and not prominently on the advert, which is what the rules require".

The charity is now advising users to highlight to Facebook any adverts which break the rules. Credit Action has made a complaint to the Office of Fair Trading.

An OFT spokeswoman told The Guardian that the adverts were being looked into. "If a business is not complying with the law then there are a range of measures we can take up to revoking its credit licence," she said.

Facebook today said in a statement: "Advertisers on Facebook are required to follow the site's guidelines for appropriate advertising and to meet local laws and regulations. User reporting is a powerful part of the site, and Facebook encourages its users to report any advertisements that might violate its guidelines so it can investigate them."

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