Facebook blames hate speech ads on mistake, immediately approves more hate speech ads

AP reports that nonprofit org Global Witness bought 12 ads on Facebook that "used dehumanizing hate speech to call for the murder of people belonging to each of Ethiopia's three main ethnic groups — the Amhara, the Oromo and the Tigrayans." Facebook approved all 12 ads.

Global Witness didn't run the ads. "We set a publication date in the future and deleted the ads once Facebook had notified us whether the ads had been approved for publication or not," Global Witness said.

The hate speech examples we used are highly offensive and we are therefore deliberately not repeating all of the phrases used here [iv]. The sentences used included violent speech that directly calls for people to be killed, starved or 'cleansed' from an area and dehumanising speech that compares people to animals. Several of them amount to a call for genocide. None of the sentences were dog-whistles or in any way difficult to interpret.

When Global Witness told Facebook that it had accepted hate speed ads, Facebook acknowledges that the ads "shouldn't have been approved in the first place as they violate our policies."

"We submitted another two examples of real-life Amharic-language hate speech to them a week later," said Global Witness. "Both ads were, again, accepted by Facebook for publication within a matter of hours."

Rinse, cycle, repeat.