Facebook allowed advertisers to reach anti-Semitic individuals

Facebook allowed advertisers to reach anti-Semitic individuals

After ProPublica accused Facebook of allowing marketers to target "Jew haters", the social networking giant is temporarily disabling the features that let them do it.

Not very thumbs up: Anti-Semitic ad targeting found possible on Facebook. Facebook said that the fields that showed up for ProPublica in its ads interface as targetable audiences for campaigns were because of these rogue employer and education sections.

"There are times where content is surfaced on our platform that violates our standards", said Leathern. Facebook said it has built new "guardrails" into product-and-review processes to prevent something similar from occurring in the future.

The company's software encouraged the purchase of the ads, saying they would reach 5,897 people, generating 101 clicks, and 13 "engagements" such as a "like" a "share", according to the investigation.

But while some have been using these self-reporting fields to make harmless jokes, others have been using them to spew hatred - and it's been revealed that advertisers could have specifically targeted these individuals.

Last week, Facebook disclosed that it had discovered $100,000 worth of ads placed during the 2016 presidential election had been put there by "inauthentic" accounts that appeared to be affiliated with Russian Federation.

Reporters took screenshots of the site as they placed the ads. "In this case, we've removed the associated targeting fields in question", he told ProPublica.

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Many are criticising Facebook's policy of automatically creating categories for advertisers, as it means that offensive categories could go relatively undetected unless brought to the attention of the company or the wider media, sometimes months after being in regular use. In response, Facebook unveiled safeguards that bar ad sales to "fake news" disseminators and downplay stories with misleading clickbait headlines. But there are restrictions on how audience targeting can be used on Facebook.

Here's how it worked: Advertisers target campaigns by specifying the groups of people they are interested in reaching.

The ProPublica researchers found the anti-Jewish categories while conducting a larger investigation into the way Facebook targets adverts at users.

Photo Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's chief executive, in April.

Mr Leathern said Facebook did not allow hate speech to appear on its site.

The potential for Facebook's advertising platform, which reaches 2 billion people, to be misused by bad actors has come under heightened scrutiny in the aftermath of the US presidential election.

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