Facebook used anti-Semitic ad categories, report says

Facebook enabled advertisers to target the news feeds of users who expressed anti-Semitic interests, according to a report by ProPublica Thursday.

ProPublica said it paid Facebook $30 to display three so-called “promoted posts” in the news feeds of people who expressed interest in topics like “Jew hater,” “How to burn jews,” or, “History of ‘why jews ruin the world.'”

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

ProPublica said Facebook removed the anti-Semitic categories after the social network was alerted to them this week. The report said the categories were created by an algorithm, not a Facebook employee.

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

Facebook disclosed last week that thousands of fake accounts that appeared to be affiliated with Russia bought $100,000 worth of ads that focused on controversial issues during last year’s presidential election.

Click for more from ProPublica.

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