Facebook users interested in topics including ‘How to burn Jews’ and ‘Hitler did nothing wrong’ were reportedly promoted to advertisers under an algorithm used by the social network.
An investigation by ProPublica exposed the algorithm, when they paid $30 to promote posts. Facebook suggested groups they target, including 2,300 people interested in the topics ‘Jew hater,’ ‘How to burn jews’ and ‘History of why jews ruin the world.’
ProPublica selected the groups and within 15 minutes the ads were approved.
This is what automated anti-semitism looks like: pic.twitter.com/DdoZoxfLxP
— Julia Angwin (@JuliaAngwin) September 14, 2017
Their investigation also revealed the group ‘Hitler did nothing wrong’ labeled as “fields of study.”
After being contacted by ProPublica the groups were removed by Facebook. Rob Leathern, product management director at Facebook, said they are considering changing the algorithm creating the groups.
— RT (@RT_com) September 14, 2017
“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,” he told The Guardian in a statement.
Last month Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said they were committed to clamping down on hate speech online following the Charlottesville attack.