Facebook to make potentially sensitive ads to go through 'human review'

Facebook logo is seen at a start-up companies gathering at Paris' Station F in Paris, France on January 17, 2017. (Photo: Reuters)

After facing flak for enabling advertisers to reach "Jew haters" and the presence of Russia-linked ads on its platform during the 2016 American presidential election, Facebook is planning to make scrutiny of some advertisements more stringent before they are published on its platforms.

The social network is going to require ads that are targetted to people based on "politics, religion, ethnicity or social issues" to be manually reviewed before they go live, Axios.com reported late on Saturday.

"With this update, we'll be requiring more ads to go through human review," according to an e-mail Facebook sent to advertisers and obtained by Axios.

"New campaigns with ad sets contain targetting options that we feel warrant additional review (such as those associated with topics such as politics, religion, ethnicity and social issues), we will route them for manual review prior to being approved," it read.

A ProPublica investigation reported in September revealed that Facebook enabled advertisers to direct their 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".

Facebook ads are generally bought and uploaded to the site through an automated system.

The new policy that Facebook is planning to implement sets a higher standard for the ads targetted at people affiliated with particular political, religious or ethnic groups.

Facebook warned that the new policy could slow down the launch of new ad campaigns.

The social network is currently facing intense scrutiny over the presence of Russia-linked ads on its platform during the 2016 American presidential election and along with Twitter, is set to appear before the US Congress on November 1 to testify.


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