Facebook 'sold adverts targeted at users interested in "how to burn Jews"'

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In all, ProPublica reports that roughly 2,300 people expressed interest in the anti-Semitic categories. Facebook reportedly approved the three ads within 15 minutes.

"We don't allow hate speech on Facebook", Facebook project management director Rob Leathern said in a statement.

However, he said, there were times when information appeared on Facebook that violated its standards. Moreover, Leathern shared that the company will add more guard rails and review processes to prevent similar issues to pop up in the future.

The company explained that the categories were generated by a small percentage of people entering offensive responses in the education and employer sections of their profiles.

To find out if the classifications were real, it bought ads that combined the three separate anti-Semitic categories with several others that were about far-right topics.

Facebook has also come under fire for allowing fake accounts to place adverts that may have sought to influence the USA presidential election. The categories were too small on their own, but the advertisements could be placed by also targeting supporters of Germany's National Democratic Party.

The anti Semitic categories were created by an algorithm rather than by people. Facebook said it had removed the ability to buy targeted marketing based on those topics and believed the use of the topics in ad campaigns had not been widespread (file abov

An employee told ProPublica that the worrisome targeting categories were rarely used and a spokesperson said that they have been removed.

While accepting some blame for carelessly catering to anti-Semites, Facebook does take issue with ProPublica attributing the hateful ad categories to an "algorithm".

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. Studies have repeatedly suggested that fake news and dark ads on Facebook and other social media sites can swing political opinions and manipulate elections. After the ad was approved, Facebook also automatically described the advert as targeting people interested in "Antysemityzm", a Polish word.

Facebook said it was cooperating with related federal investigations in the US.

Facebook's targeted advertising system is a powerful marketing tool in the right hands. Next, the Slate dug deeper and found many more offensive and hate topics in auto suggestions that Facebook offered to advertisers.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a post last month that, "There is no place for hate in our community".

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