Friday, September 22, 2017

Facebook’s racist ad problems were baked in from the start

https://www.theverge.com/2017/9/22/16347338/facebook-google-hateful-ad-targeting-by-design


ProPublica discovered last Thursday that Facebook’s ad tools could target racists and anti-Semites using the very information those users self-report. That initial report kicked off a series of experiments conducted by news organizations that found that Google’s search engine would not only let you place ads next to search results for hateful rhetoric, but its automated processes would even suggest similar, equally hateful search terms to sell ads against. Twitter was also caught up in the controversy, when its filtering mechanisms failed to prevent ads from targeting “Nazi” and the n-word, an issue the company inexplicably attributed to “a bug we have now fixed.” This week, Instagram converted a journalist’s post about a violent threat she received into an ad that it then served to the journalist’s contacts.

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