Facebook let advertisers target 'Jew haters', investigation reveals

Saturday, 16 Sep, 2017

Facebook enabled advertisers to target the news feeds of users who expressed anti-Semitic interests, according to a report by ProPublica Thursday. "Facebook's self-service ad-buying platform had the right audience for you", reads the article from ProPublica. In addition to this, the company, temporarily, is disallowing advertisers from using self-reported fields in ad targeting. Earlier this month, Facebook disclosed that a group that appeared to be based in Russian Federation had spent $100,000 on ads promoting political messages in a two-year period.

But obviously the Facebook ad targeting algorithms were not changed because using the same tools, the Slate later found more hateful terms that advertisers could use to reach their audience.

"We've removed the associated targeting fields in question". As expected, representatives have pledged to "prevent other issues like this from happening in the future" by implementing tighter controls and processes. Conceivably, those who might find it helpful to target anti-Semites could range from recruiters for far-right groups to marketers of Nazi memorabilia.

The anti-Semitic categories were likely generated by users who listed the subjects as interests, employers, or fields of study. Facebook told ProPublica 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.

The company claims the categories were placed in the education category by a small group of people, "Given that the number of people in these segments was incredibly low, an extremely small number of people were targeted in these campaigns".

Earlier this week, it was reported that Russian operatives used Facebook's Events feature to organise political protests in the USA, including an anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim rally in Idaho in August 2016.

KitGuru Says: While not as scary to me as the two Facebook AI communicating with one another in their own language, it's still a disgusting thought that the social media site is a huge platform for such hate.

But the discovery adds to an intensifying focus on how various types of speech, including advertisements, flow through one of the world's dominant sources of information and social interaction.

"Keeping our community safe is critical to our mission", Facebook said in a statement.

A 2013 post from the company specifically names Jewish people as a group frequently targeted by threats and hate speech on the platform.