Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg has personally intervened in a hate speech advertising row which engulfed the social media company last week, when it emerged it had been inadvertently soliciting anti-Semitic advertisers.
Taking personal ownership of the scandal in a Facebook post Sandberg wrote that she was “disgusted and disappointed” that offensive slurs such as ‘Jew-hater’ and ‘how to burn Jews’ were amongst the targeting options Facebook had offered to potential advertisers.
Writing on the social network Sandberg wrote: “Seeing those words made me disgusted and disappointed – disgusted by these sentiments and disappointed that our systems allowed this. Hate has no place on Facebook – and as a Jew, as a mother, and as a human being, I know the damage that can come from hate. The fact that hateful terms were even offered as options was totally inappropriate and a fail on our part.”
Defending the concept of ad targeting Sandberg went onto announce a three-step overhaul of the platforms policies and tools to prevent a repeat of the embarrassing oversight, beginning with a tightening of advertising policies and tougher enforcement of community standards.
Sandberg also pledged to decrease reliance on automated systems by bringing in more human oversight and will harness community oversight by encouraging people to report potential abuses in its ad system directly.
Facebook has also reinstated 5,000 common targeting options such as ‘nurse’ and teacher’ which were temporarily removed as part of a blanket ban when news of the scandal first broke.
The social media giant was already feeling the heat after it was found to have sold $100k worth of ads to Russian accounts during the US presidential race.