Google, Face­book to change ad tar­get­ing

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NATIONAL -

Google and Face­book, the world’s big­gest sell­ers of on­line ad­ver­tis­ing, faced sharp crit­i­cism Fri­day for al­low­ing ad­ver­tis­ers to di­rect ads to users who searched for or ex­pressed an in­ter­est in racially bi­ased sen­ti­ments and hate speech.

In re­sponse to two sep­a­rate news reports ex­pos­ing the is­sues, both com­pa­nies said they would change how their sys­tems worked.

The crit­i­cism be­gan Thursday after a re­port from ProPublica, a non­profit news site, re­vealed that Face­book en­abled ad­ver­tis­ers to seek out self-de­scribed “Jew haters” and other anti-Semitic top­ics. The com­pany re­sponded by say­ing it would re­strict how ad­ver­tis­ers tar­geted their au­di­ences on the so­cial net­work.

The po­ten­tial mis­use of such ad­ver­tis­ing tools has be­come a na­tional con­cern in the past year, par­tic­u­larly after Face­book dis­closed last week that fake ac­counts based in Rus­sia had pur­chased more than $100,000 worth of ads on di­vi­sive is­sues in the lead-up to the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.

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