The ability to target Facebook ads to any demographic that you might fancy is an essential tool for many businesses using social media to promote their products in 2017, but it doesn’t seem as if Facebook itself knew the true power of what it could actually unleash on the world.
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Case in point: according to a study by ProPublica (a non profit news agency based in New York), it was actually fairly easy to target people that actively hated Jews via the advertising platform. Apparently 2300 people had listed phrases such as ‘Jew hater’, ‘how to burn Jews’ and ‘History of why Jews ruin the world’ in their work details on their profiles and Facebook’s technology allowed advertisers to target these people via their keywords.
There’s no indication that anyone actually did target those people – not really sure what kind of product they would be advertising either – but nevertheless Facebook have now removed the option to do so following the report. Here’s what they had to say in a statement:
We are removing these self-reported targeting fields until we have the right processes in place to help prevent this issue.
We want Facebook to be a safe place for people and businesses, and we’ll continue to do everything we can to keep hate off Facebook.
Nice work. I suppose you can’t really blame Facebook for this one either because you wouldn’t really expect people to write such stupid and hateful comments when asked for their job details. Actually, given the current state of the world maybe they should have seen that one coming. Never mind – not the next one.
For more Facebook problems, check out how you can get fined £3000 for liking a post these days. Be careful