Facebook permitted advertisements targeting anti-Semitic users

Facebook Let Its Advertisers Target “Jew Haters”

Facebook removed the anti-Semitic categories after ProPublica asked the company questions about them.

Facebook allows organisations to target adverts at people who declare an interest in topics such as "how to burn Jews" and "Hitler did nothing wrong".

ProPublica then performed a test, paying $30 to target the users that had liked these anti-Semitic topics.

As Facebook has given advertisers greater power to micro-target their messages using a self-service platform, the company has at times failed to ensure they comply with its terms and conditions. Moreover, Leathern shared that the company will add more guard rails and review processes to prevent similar issues to pop up in the future.

In this case, enough people had typed "NaziParty" as their employer or "Jew hater" as their educational field of study on their Facebook profiles that the computer decided that these people warranted their own grouping, in the same way that people who work for AT&T or studied supply-chain management might.

However, the Slate online news site discovered that the problem ran much deeper, and it was still able to purchase the targeted advertising even after Facebook had reacted to ProPublica's investigation. The revelations potentially bolster the findings of intelligence officials that Russian Federation was involved in influencing the 2016 presidential election.


Thus, for each category like, for example, "burning Jews", Google suggests several keywords, including "burnt Jews", "did they burn Jews", etc.

Facebook told TechCrunch that it is now working to prevent such offensive entries in demographic traits from appearing as addressable categories.

The organization highlights that Facebook manages its ad business through automation, meaning that algorithms take care of everything they can possibly take care of. Facebook approved all three of the posts within 15 minutes.

Facebook's targeted advertising system is a powerful marketing tool in the right hands. There's also plenty of the usual Making The World A Better Place spiel in The Social Network™'s response, along with reminders that its fine print prohibits hate speech and discrimination. Facebook offers different targeting options, like location, and age, and interests.

"We won't always be ideal, but you have my commitment that we'll keep working to make Facebook a place where everyone can feel safe", he wrote.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg responded to the bloodshed by writing that "there is no place for hate in our community" and that the site was committed to removing content that "promotes or celebrates hate crimes or acts of terrorism".

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