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Facebook mobile adverts 'expected' from next month

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg talks about Timeline during the f/8 conference

© PA Images

Facebook users accessing the service through mobile devices could be served adverts in the near future.

The Financial Times reports that the social networking giant may open up the portable version of the platform to product placement as soon as March.

"No-one has cracked mobile advertising," former Nokia designer Christian Lindholm told the newspaper. "The fundamental problem is the lack of screen real estate."

Although profits generated from advertising made up 85% of Facebook's revenue last year, the firm has so far resisted the temptation to host ads on apps and its mobile incarnation. However, digital agency heads predict that its imminent IPO has put pressure on the company to sells its users' data.

"More than 40 million websites have installed the 'Like' button across the internet, so the infrastructure and technology is already there for Facebook to start capitalising on its users' data away from the social networking site," Charlie McGee of advertising agency Carat told The Telegraph.

Other industry experts have noted that Facebook risks alienating its subscribers by introducing more product placement, and could even fall afoul of EU cookie laws.

"Facebook has to carefully manage that tricky tension between pleasing Wall Street and not commercialising the product so much that it alienates its membership," said Ben Wood of digital marketing agency iProspect.

"I also think Facebook could run into trouble if it starts selling adverts based on its users' data away from the site. The rules around cookie laws, especially in the European Union, are getting increasingly difficult."

Facebook has yet to comment on the rumours that it is considering introducing adverts to its mobile service.

> Facebook float: Mark Zuckerberg's letter in full

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