Facebook profits from ads on hate group page searches: report

Facebook has benefited from searches and ads from white supremacist groups on its social media platform, according to a report released Wednesday by the Tech Transparency Project (TTP).

The TTP investigation found ads monetizing search results for some white supremacist groups, more than 80 of which use Facebook as a hub, according to the report. The ads weren’t aimed at white supremacist groups themselves, but generated revenue for the social media giant when they appeared in searches.

A Facebook spokesperson said Wednesday that the platform has fixed the issue.

The count of 80 groups found in the report represents more than a third of the 226 white supremacist groups labeled as hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Anti-Defamation League and Facebook.

Meta says it has designated 270 groups under this label and banned them all from the platform.

Even with clear white supremacy flags like “Ku Klux Klan” in the name, searches by some groups showed users ads for black churches, which the TTP flagged as potentially “highlighting potential targets for extremists”.

The platform has often been criticized for facilitating extremist groups and spreading false information.

Facebook announced in 2019 that it would ban white nationalist and white separatist content, adding to its existing ban on white supremacist content, noting in a statement that the company had “confirmed that white nationalism and white separatism cannot be significantly separated from white supremacy and organized”. hate groups.

In 2020, Facebook updated its policies “to more specifically address certain types of implied hate speech, such as content depicting black faces or stereotypes about Jewish people” and banned a number of supremacist groups. whites.

The new TTP report, however, suggests that hate groups are still finding a foothold on the site.

The investigation revealed that 24 of the 119 Facebook pages identified had been automatically generated by Facebook, likely after a user noted one of these groups as an interest or an employer.

“We immediately fixed an issue where ads appeared in searches for terms related to banned organizations and we are also working to fix an auto-generating issue, which was incorrectly impacting a small number of pages, the gate said. -Facebook spokesperson, Dani Lever, in a statement.

“We will continue to work with outside experts and organizations with the goal of staying ahead of violent, hateful and terrorism-related content and removing such content from our platforms.”

Calvin W. Soper