Every week seems to bring a new disaster for Facebook – not one that seems to affect its money-hoovering activities mind – and now it’s the discovery by ProPublica that you can target the news feeds of over 2,000 people whose interests include “Jew hater” “How to burn jews” or “History of ‘why jews ruin the world.’”
Facebook supremo Sheryl Sandberg (below), who’s Jewish, says she’s disgusted by this and is jolly well not going to stand for it.
Product management director Rob Leathern says: “There are times where content is surfaced on our platform that violates our standards. 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.”
The categories were created – you’ve guessed it – by an algorithm. Sandberg says the zillion dollar business – which claims it’s a “platform” not a media owner – is going to hire a few more people.
It’s also emerged that Facebook sold $100,000 worth of ads to “inauthentic” accounts affiliated with Russia during the presidential election, presumably pro-Trump.
If any conventional media owner did this stuff it would find itself in court, to be hit with stupendous fines. But the mighty “platform” Facebook gets away with it.
As the unwitting Sheryl (who’s usually wheeled out on these occasions as ultimate boss Mark Zuckerberg would probably say he can’t see anything wrong with it) says: it’s all a bit much.