Company Continues to be in Trouble with its Micro Marketing
Facebook’s advertising campaign has generated more negative attention. On Thursday Facebook announced it was disabling a feature that allows marketers to target based on someone’s self-reported education and job information. It had created a loophole allowing targeting of individuals who professed to be interested in “Jew hater” or “history of why Jews ruin the world.” There are around 2,300 profiles who have listed interest in this topic.
Facebook has recently been in trouble for allowing $100,000 of targeted advertising by Russians linked to the Kremlin to affect the U.S. Presidential election. The company made $20.7 billion last year in advertising. Last year Facebook was caught allowing advertisers to exclude race for housing. This violated the U.S. Fair Housing Act of 1969.
Hate speech is legally protected in the United States. In fact, it is less restricted than other countries. The issue is not whether the speech is illegal. The implications of the targeting are much more serious. This could be used as a way for white supremacists to better organize. Given the violence at Charlottesville, the danger of violence erupting becomes higher.
It also reveals the gigantic nature of Facebook. The company has had trouble with its targeting advertising system because of the amount of advertising that is used. The due diligence needed to avoid these issues may be extremely difficult, if not impossible.
Facebook has mentioned that the ban is only temporary and that they will fix the targeting system to limit this sort micro-targeting to happen in the future.