Even the most studied history professors would bristle at being called a Nazi enthusiast. Expert maybe, but enthusiast, perhaps not. Although, at Facebook, the company wants to make it easier for advertisers to reach users who like to dabble in some Nazism.
The L.A. Times reports Facebook is allowing advertisers to continue to target users who show an interest in Nazism. Of course, learning and understanding about the atrocities of Nazism should be fundamental history knowledge, but there are an increasingly amount of people who are adopting the feelings of the movement.
In the report, the Times says Facebook is letting advertisers target users who are showing interest in Neo-Nazi content:
“We started with Skrewdriver, a British band with a song called “White Power” and an album named after a Hitler Youth motto. Since the band only had 2,120 users identified as fans, Facebook informed us that we would need to add more target demographics to publish the ad.
The prompt led us down a rabbit hole of terms it thought were related to white supremacist ideology.
First, it recommended “Thor Steinar,” a clothing brand that has been outlawed in the German parliament for its association with neo-Nazism. Then, it recommended “NPD Group,” the name of both a prominent American market research firm and a far-right German political party associated with neo-Nazism. Among the next recommended terms were “Flüchtlinge,” the German word for “refugees,” and “Nationalism.”
Links and Leads
All these target terms were on Facebook's platform. The report shows how a party could theoretically lead users into a spiral of hate content by serving links to neo-Nazi content. Responding to the claims, Facebook said it should have picked up this practice sooner and shut it down:
“Most of these targeting options are against our policies and should have been caught and removed sooner. While we have an ongoing review of our targeting options, we clearly need to do more, so we're taking a broader look at our policies and detection methods.”