Facebook Allowed Ads To Target Users Who Liked ‘How To Burn Jews’ by the Forward

Facebook Allowed Ads To Target Users Who Liked ‘How To Burn Jews’

Facebook allowed users to buy ad space targeting people who had expressed interest in anti-Semitic topics like “Jew hater” and “How to burn jews,” the news organization ProPublica reported Thursday.

ProPublica used Facebook to buy $30 worth of ads targeting those groups. Those ads were approved within 15 minutes, the report claimed.

Facebook allows advertisers to target users who express interest in tens of thousands of categories. The “Jew hater” category only had 2,274 people associated with it (not enough to buy an ad), so Facebook system’s reportedly recommended adding “Second Amendment” as an additional category—“presumably because its system had correlated gun enthusiasts with anti-Semites,” the report explained.

The ads eventually reached 5,897 people, generating 101 clicks and 13 “engagements” (like a “like” or a comment).

After the reporters contacted Facebook, most of the questionable categories were deleted.

“There are times where content is surfaced on our platform that violates our standards,” Facebook product management director Rob Leathern told ProPublica. “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.”

Contact Aiden Pink at pink@forward.com or on Twitter, @aidenpink.

Facebook Enabled Ads To Target Users Who Hate Jews

Author

Aiden Pink

Aiden Pink

Aiden Pink is the Deputy News Editor for the Forward. Contact him at pink@forward.com or on Twitter, @aidenpink .

Your Comments

The Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. All readers can browse the comments, and all Forward subscribers can add to the conversation. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Forward requires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not and will be deleted. Egregious commenters or repeat offenders will be banned from commenting. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and the Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Recommend this article

Facebook Allowed Ads To Target Users Who Liked ‘How To Burn Jews’

Thank you!

This article has been sent!

Close