Facebook offered ads targeted at "Jew-haters" until ProPublica asked about it

Facebook removed several antisemitic ad categories after ProPublica asked about them and "promised to improve monitoring."

Want to market Nazi memorabilia, or recruit marchers for a far-right rally? Facebook's self-service ad-buying platform had the right audience for you.

Until this week, when we asked Facebook about it, the world's largest social network enabled advertisers to direct their pitches to the news feeds of almost 2,300 people who expressed interest in the topics of "Jew hater," "How to burn jews," or, "History of 'why jews ruin the world.'"

Surely what Facebook means by "monitoring" is monitoring what Facebook exposes about itself, not what Facebook itself monitors.

ProPublica (having bought ads targeted at the antisemitic categories and verified their fulfillment) offers this tobesure about how it all works:

"In all likelihood, the ad categories that we spotted were automatically generated … Facebook's algorithm automatically transforms people's declared interests into advertising categories."

It can't be racist, it's just a computer program!