Facebook let marketers target ads to 'Jew Haters'

Facebook let marketers target ads to 'Jew Haters'

We found it, but discovered that the category-with only 2,274 people in it-was too small for Facebook to allow us to buy an ad pegged only to Jew haters. Facebook's ad-placing algorithms automatically turn users' self-declared interests into advertising categories.

ProPublica explains that it placed three ads and selected the audience categories from Facebook's ad-buying platform. "In this case, we've removed the associated targeting fields in question", said Rob Leathern, Facebook's product management director.

At the time, Steve Satterfield, privacy and public policy manager at Facebook, told ProPublica, "We take a strong stand against advertisers misusing our platform: Our policies prohibit using our targeting options to discriminate, and they require compliance with the law". Facebook data showed the ads reached 5,897 people, generating 101 clicks, and 13 "engagements" such as a "like" a "share" or a comment on a post.

In the United Kingdom, a series of Conservative party attack ads were also sent to voters in a key marginal constituency, and activists captured the ads using dummy Facebook accounts, the Guardian reported in May.

Facebook has also come under fire for allowing fake accounts to place adverts that may have sought to influence the U.S. presidential election.


After being contacted by ProPublica the groups were removed by Facebook.

Earlier this month, Facebook admitted that its algorithm approved $100,000 worth of ads that point to fake news pages between June 2015 and May 2017.

This is a big deal because it could shape the styles of content created for Facebook Watch, the new original programming hub its launched where publishers earn 55% of ad revenue.

Facebook's targeted advertising system is a powerful marketing tool in the right hands.

All the same, it's not a good look when your revenue model makes it stupidly easy to spread hate speech to an audience you know will be receptive. We want Facebook to be a safe place for people and businesses, and we'll continue to do everything we can to keep hate off Facebook. Particularly in the wake of events at Charlottesville last month -after which Mark Zuckerberg made an anti-hate statement- the online juggernaut must hold itself to account. These bigoted categories were, in fact, gleaned from the information users put up on their profiles about their field of study, job title, and education.

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