Facebook let advertisers place ads to reach 'Jew haters'

Facebook Takes It Hard On Anti Semitic Ads Following Report

The social media giant's ad-buying platform allows purchasers to tailor their ads to certain categories of users, seeking to guide advertisements into the newsfeeds of more receptive audiences.

The social networking company will remove targeting by self-reported education, field of study, job title and employment fields in user profiles until it can fix the problem in its self-service advertising system.

Facebook allowed marketers to specially target their ads on the platform towards users interested in anti-Semitic topics "How to burn Jews" or "History of 'why Jews ruin the world". Facebook's algorithm then surfaces these labels when ad buyers (or journalists) go looking for them. In addition to this, the company, temporarily, is disallowing advertisers from using self-reported fields in ad targeting. They, too, were lumped into targeting categories. Moreover, Leathern shared that the company will add more guard rails and review processes to prevent similar issues to pop up in the future.

Still, the fact that the social network is removing the ability for organizations to buy targeted ads underscores the significance of advertising system's design flaws. Last month, Facebook told federal investigators that it sold about $100,000 in political ads during the 2016 election season to "inauthentic" accounts, likely affiliated with and operated in Russian Federation. After contacting Facebook separately about the posts, the companies pulled them down and deleted the ad categories.

Facebook is under fire for enabling advertisers to actively reach anti-Semitic accounts. Facebook spokesman Joe Osborne told ProPublica, "We have looked at the use of these audiences and campaigns and it's not common or widespread".

The publication was able to circumvent this, however, by adding interests of the "German Schutzstaffel", more widely established as the Nazi SS and Nazi Party, holding a much larger 3,194 and 2,449 people respectively.

However, he said, there were times when information appeared on Facebook that violated its standards.

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

Advertisers who notice any offensive or inappropriate targeting fields are asked to report them.

Considering all these elements, Facebook might soon have to draw a clearer line between not allowing hate speech on and not discriminating groups of people regardless of their thoughts and beliefs.

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