Facebook shuts down ad targeting due to hate speech filter

A 3D plastic representation of the Facebook logo is seen in this illustration

The publication found that Facebook's advertising portal contained a number of anti-Semitic categories ad-buyers could use to help target their ads on Facebook.

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.

However, he said, there were times when information appeared on Facebook that violated its standards.

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.

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It's often been observed that Facebook's real product is its users, as without their voluntary surrender of personal data the company could not sell finely-targeted ads. Facebook is also enabling advertisers to report any fields they think breach Facebook's policies.

The news of these segments comes in the midst of Facebook's other ad controversy, which saw the company receive over US$100 000 from Russian ads during the 2016 United States election.

Reporters took screenshots of the site as they placed the ads.

"I think what we've seen so far from Facebook is only the tip of the iceberg", Warner said. And to help ensure that targeting is not used for discriminatory purposes, we are removing these self-reported targeting fields until we have the right processes in place to help prevent this issue.

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Facebook removed the ad categories immediately after being contacted by ProPublica, stating that it will attempt to fix the problem and scrutinize more closely what ad categories were available.

This is a big deal because it could shape the styles of content created for Facebook Watch, the new original programming hub its launched where publishers earn 55% of ad revenue.

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

"It was shocking to read about this practice on Facebook, and we are glad Facebook ended it", he said in a statement.

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But other news reports, including one in Slate magazine, then discovered that hateful topics were more widespread in the ad system's targeting capabilities. Particularly in the wake of events at Charlottesville last month -after which Mark Zuckerberg made an anti-hate statement- the online juggernaut must hold itself to account. Facebook was also recently criticized for allowing hate groups like neo-Nazis to thrive on its platform.

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