Facebook Allowed Advertisers To Direct Their Ads to ‘Jew Haters’

Facebook is under fire for enabling advertisers to actively reach anti-Semitic accounts.

A report from ProPublica shows that up until this week, the social media giant allowed advertisers to narrow their target audience to roughly 2,300 people who have expressed interests in topics “Jew hater” “How to burn jews,” or, “History of ‘why jews ruin the world.’”

To test their reporting, ProPublica paid $30 to target those groups with three “promoted posts,” which were just standard articles from its site. Facebook approved the ads within 15 minutes.

When ProPublica reached out to Facebook for comment, Facebook removed all the anti-Semitic categories, which they insist were created by an algorithm based on the interests of Facebook users and not Facebook itself. They said they would “explore ways to fix the problem, such as limiting the number of categories available or scrutinizing them before they are displayed to buyers.”


Facebook Product Management Director Rob Leathern weighed in on the controversy.

“There are times where content is surfaced on our platform that violates our standards,” said Leathern. “In this case, we’ve removed the associated targeting fields in question. We know we have more work to do, so we’re also building new guardrails in our product and review processes to prevent other issues like this from happening in the future.”

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