'How to burn Jews' Facebook group suggested to advertisers by algorithm

'How to burn Jews' Facebook group suggested to advertisers by algorithm

After ProPublica informed Facebook about their system, the company then pulled out several anti-Semitic ad categories.

The social network allowed advertisers to buy ads specifically targeting "Jew haters" and people who were "interested in" other anti-Semitic topics, according to a new report from ProPublica.

"Facebook approved all three ads within 15 minutes", the site said in its report.

"ProPublica surfaced that these offensive education and employer fields were showing up in our ads interface as targetable audiences for campaigns", the dissembling continues.

This is not the first time Facebook's ad system has come under scrutiny. ProPublica said the counter Semitic classifications were made by a calculation and they were evacuated by Facebook after the organization was made mindful.

Facebook and rival Google, owned by Alphabet, Inc., dominate the fast-growing market for online advertising, in part because they let marketers target their ads based on huge volumes of data.

"We've removed the associated targeting fields in question". Facebook said it has built new "guardrails" into product-and-review processes to prevent something similar from occurring in the future.

Journalists even showed how Facebook suggested how to expand the target group, such as by increasing the audience to those who "like" guns rights.

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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.

Last week, Facebook revealed that during the 2016 election cycle it sold thousands of advertisements to fake accounts likely operated out of Russian Federation.

The company claims the categories were placed in the education category by a small group of people, "Given that the number of people in these segments was incredibly low, an extremely small number of people were targeted in these campaigns".

While accepting some blame for carelessly catering to anti-Semites, Facebook does take issue with ProPublica attributing the hateful ad categories to an "algorithm". Both the social network and the advertising platform will have to deal with this more head-on going forward.

Facebook has since removed the offending categories.

Keeping our community safe is critical to our mission.

Facebook's targeting doesn't technically allow advertisers to specify minorities in targeting groups, but it has ethnic affinities, meaning the people are likely to identify or share interests with a certain group.

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