Digital Transformation

Facebook removes ads promoting 'gay cure' to young LGBT users


By Rebecca Stewart | Trends Editor

August 27, 2018 | 3 min read

Facebook has removed a series of ads that were targeted towards young members of the UK LGBT community that promised "sexuality purity" and offered a "cure" for same-sex attraction.

An investigation published in The Telegraph accused the social network of profiting from posts that used mico-targeting to confront LGBT users with ads offering "conversion therapy" for gay and lesbian individuals.

The report claims that two of the ads the title reported to Facebook were skewed towards a young, LGBT audience.

facebook lgbt

The report claims that two of the ads the title reported to Facebook were skewed towards a young, LGBT audience / Facebook

When users asked Facebook why they'd been shown the ads, it said it was because the individuals involved had shown an interest in "gender issues".

One ad targeted towards young people promoted a book titled Help for Men With Same-Sex Attraction. The promotion linked to the website of Christian self-publishing book firm WestBow Press.

facebook gay conversion ads

Facebook said it had removed the ads flagged by the Telegraph, in line with its policies that state ads mustn't "contain content that discriminates against, harasses, provokes or disparages people" who use the platform.

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Paul Twocock, director of campaigns, policy and research at Stonewall said the ads were "an insidious attempt to undermine the self-esteem of LGBT people seeing this material."

Facebook's micro-targeting policies have been under the microscope since the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke earlier this year.

In response, the social network has made attempts to be more transparent about who is buying ad space within its walls.

Last year, Facebook was accused of letting brands target teens based on vulnerable emotional states like stress, anxiety and failure – an allegation the social network denied.

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