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Facebook has removed several rape "joke" pages, in an apparent u-turn from earlier comments dismissing them as "pub jokes".

The pages, with names such as "You know she's playing hard to get when you need another roll of tape", prompted hundreds of thousands of people to sign petitions and join a Twitter campaign to get the pages banned. Facebook also received complaints from advertisers worried that their businesses would be associated with the pages.

In August this year Facebook responded to concerns the pages promoted rape by saying "Just as telling a rude joke won't get you thrown out of your local pub, it won't get you thrown off Facebook".

The social network now appears to have taken a turn towards the conservative, however. Facebook told the BBC today that "There is no place on Facebook for content that is hateful, threatening, or incites violence".

It said the pages were removed because they breached the site's terms and conditions.

Over 188,000 people signed a petition to Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg to get the pages removed. A Twitter campaign where users posted pages they found offensive, #notfunnyfacebook, was still popular this morning.

Several pages with names beginning with "You know she's playing hard to get when..." were still active on the site today, some with over 80,000 'likes'. The BBC reported that these may be removed at a later date, once administrators had been given enough time to comply with the new rules.

Parody Facebook pages such as "You know she's playing hard to get when she gets your FB joke removed" started appearing today.