3 New Facebook Ad Restrictions After ‘Jew Haters’ Incident
Marketers had been able to target “Jew Haters” with Facebook ads and that was her social network’s “fail,” Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said on Wednesday, the eve of the Jewish New Year and a time for resolutions.
Sandberg didn’t mention Rosh Hashanah in her Facebook post about the three new measures the social network will be taking with marketers, but she did mention what prompted the new rules.
Last week’s reporting from ProPublica’s Julia Angwin, Madeleine Varner and Ariana Tobin revealed that advertisers could target “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.”’“
Sandberg’s post on Wednesday said, in part:
Today, we are announcing that we are strengthening our ads targeting policies and tools.
First, we're clarifying our advertising policies and tightening our enforcement processes to ensure that content that goes against our community standards cannot be used to target ads. This includes anything that directly attacks people based on their race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, sex, gender or gender identity, or disabilities or diseases. Such targeting has always been in violation of our policies and we are taking more steps to enforce that now.
Second, we're adding more human review and oversight to our automated processes. After manually reviewing existing targeting options, we are reinstating the roughly 5,000 most commonly used targeting terms — such as “nurse,” “teacher” or “dentistry.” We have made sure these meet our Community Standards. From now on, we will have more manual review of new ad targeting options to help prevent offensive terms from appearing.
And third, we are working to create a program to encourage people on Facebook to report potential abuses of our ads system to us directly. We have had success with such programs for our technical systems and we believe we can do something similar with ads.
The Facebook Business News page had no listing of new rules. Instead, it had three headlines on Thursday — “Deliver Relevance and Discover Growth With Facebook,” “Enhancing Collection Ads to Help Drive Sales” and “Introducing More Ways to Drive Offline Outcomes.” (The former article, ironically, talks about how marketers can dynamically match creative with target audiences and automatically advertise.) The Facebook Newsroom had headlines about the social network’s recent problems with political scandals.
Facebook’s problems with advertisers during the past year are straining marketers’ trust, which a source detailed to the New York Times on Wednesday:
“A whole bunch of problems have come up for Facebook over the past year that are going to have consequences,” said Brian Wieser, an analyst at Pivotal Research Group who closely follows Facebook. “It’s something between sloppiness, an absence of consideration on a range of issues, and the simple challenges of managing a massive company growing at an unparalleled pace.”
What do you think, marketers?
Please respond in the comments section below.