03:29 GMT12 April 2021
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    Facebook has suspended the use of user-reported fields after it turned out that some racist and anti-Semitic categories were generated in the social network's advertising system, media reported.

    Facebook has temporarily shut down the "self-advertising targeted fields" in its advertising system following complaints that advertisers could target users interested in such themes as "Jew Hater" and "Hitler did nothing wrong."

    The network automatically generates demographic categories that advertisers can choose to target based on information in user profiles.

    As a result, the system had accidentally put offensive phrases in the list of hobbies and interests that advertisers may want to choose for their ads.

    Following the first revelation made by the group ProPublica, the website Slate decided to test the system in a similar way, typing phrases like "Kill Muslimic Radicals" and "Ku-Klux-Klan" in the search engine. As a result, over a dozen offensive categories popped up and were similarly approved by the social network.

    All in all, the categories included only several thousand users, but their very existence has raised concerns about the efficiency of the social network's hate speech monitoring system.

    Facebook said it will keep the service shut down until the problem is resolved.

    Later, Harvard's research fellow Joshua Benton wrote on Twitter that internet users can also find similar categories using Google AdWords, but their range is even broader.

    Thus, for each category like, for example, "burning Jews", Google suggests several keywords, including "burnt Jews," "did they burn Jews," etc.


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    advertising, probe, racism, anti-Semitism, Facebook, US
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