Facebook has been allowing advertisers to target advertisements towards anti-Semitic users, according to a report.
According to investigative news outlet ProPublica, advertisers were able to target “Jew haters” and people who had interest in topics such as “How to burn Jews” and “History of ‘why Jews ruin the world.'”
“Until this week, when we asked Facebook about it, the world’s largest social network enabled advertisers to direct their pitches to the news feeds of almost 2,300 people who expressed interest in the topics of ‘Jew hater,’ ‘How to burn jews,’ or, ‘History of ‘why jews ruin the world,'” ProPublica reported. “To test if these ad categories were real, we paid $30 to target those groups with three ‘promoted posts’ — in which a ProPublica article or post was displayed in their news feeds. Facebook approved all three ads within 15 minutes.”
“After we contacted Facebook, it removed the anti-Semitic categories — which were created by an algorithm rather than by people — and said it would explore ways to fix the problem, such as limiting the number of categories available or scrutinizing them before they are displayed to buyers,” they continued.
In a statement, Rob Leathern, product management director at Facebook, claimed, “There are times where content is surfaced on our platform that violates our standards.”
“In this case, we’ve removed the associated targeting fields in question,” Leathern proclaimed. “We know we have more work to do, so we’re also building new guardrails in our product and review processes to prevent other issues like this from happening in the future.”
In ProPublica’s investigation, 2,274 people fell under the “Jew hater” demographic, while other categories included “German Schutzstaffel,” “NaziParty,” and “Hitler did nothing wrong.”