Twitter fixes ‘bug’ allowing marketers to target by derogatory terms

Twitter fixes ‘bug’ allowing marketers to target by derogatory terms

Twitter has said that it has fixed a “bug” that allowed marketers to use its ad serving platform to target users by terms like ‘Nazi’ or phrases like “How to burn jews.”

ProPublica found earlier this week that Facebook had advertising categories that allow buyers to tailor their ads for ‘hate speech’ sub-groups in which several thousand users were active.

Twitter was later found by the Daily Beast to also allow marketers to target many more users in similar categories and keywords.

The publication found that if a marketer wanted to target using the word “Nazi,” for example then Twitter would serve up 18.6 million users that might respond.

However, Twitter has since “determined these few campaigns were able to go through because of a bug.”

It claims that bug has now been fixed.

“Twitter prohibits and prevents any ad campaigns involving offensive or inappropriate content, and we will continue to strongly enforce our policies,” a spokesperson said.

After a review, Facebook said that marketers were able to target this way due to a "small percentage" of users entering "offensive responses" in their education or employer fields on their profiles.

"ProPublica surfaced that these offensive education and employer fields were showing up in our ads interface as targetable audiences for campaigns. We immediately removed them," Facebook said.

"Given that the number of people in these segments was incredibly low, an extremely small number of people were targeted in these campaigns."

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