Facebook statement on allowing advertisers to target "Jew haters"

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2017/09/14/facebook-statement-on-allowing.html


Thank you. This is how journalistic ethics should work.


“On background” is journo-speak for “not to be directly quoted”, but I didn’t solicit the statement and didn’t agree to any stipulations.

It may be that whoever wrote this press release didn’t mean it in the journo-speak sense but instead as “background points.” It would be odd that they’d incorporate “on background” points in the same document that contains the on-the-record statement from a named source. Usually, info “on background” is provided through separate, often verbal channels (Watergate’s “Deep Throat” being the famous example of a source on deep background).

Either way, Facebook might want to hire a PR person who knows what the heck he’s doing.


Dear Facebook,

Let me make a suggestion. Categories that include the word “hate” probably bear inspection.


In the context of PR blasted blindly out like this to folks they have no relationship with, stuff like “EMBARGOED” and “ON BACKGROUND” are merely there to make certain things look shiny. PR people aren’t dumb, they know they’ll get quoted. Some tend to assume individual agreements are transitive across all members of an organization, though, which is why things like this happen.

It’s fun to read around to see who is laundering those points in the editorial “voice from nowhere.”


I know a guy



If they weren’t bragging about the exponentially high advertising rates targeted to those ads, and the donations of the same in adspace AND cash to appropriate non-hate based tolerance groups - they were doing it wrong.


It’s been decades since I worked the assignment desk, so I was unaware how far down the road to Idiocracy the PR profession had gone (which is saying something).


Attacking people for other stuff is ok, though.


Makes my point from the other thread: Algorithms and humanity are colliding right now, and it’s leading to all sorts of weird shit. Again, nothing unexpected to many of us. I don’t think Facebook was being deliberately racist here. I think they were being deliberately naive and profits-above-all, which happened to lead to this when certain algorithms met with certain assholes.

Technology is utterly out of our control right now. We absolutely have the ability to think about it, and be deliberate about how we use it. However, this may require nothing less than an at least mental evolutionary step for humanity.

Are we up to it?


Well that’s a silly statement. If you say “Nazis are assholes” in a Facebook post, technically you are attacking people.

As a nondualist, part of me does understand the perspective of these Interwebs companies, from the perspective that they really want to see themselves as more akin to paper, than the newspaper. I think they’re wrong, but on some level I do understand their blasé attitude – paper manufacturers never had to defend themselves against Nazis who wrote zines using their products. Why should Facebook (YouTube, twitter, etc.) have to police their products similarly?

The answer is obvious, to anyone of true intelligence. TCP/IP and HTTP etc. are paper, and Facebook is the newspaper (a publisher, not a medium). But we have to learn how to articulate this argument, because many things are on the line (see: Russian propaganda ads on FB, which never would have happened on broadcast television).


I know, I was being kind of facetious, though I understand your point. Mostly the phrasing seemed funny/odd in that anything not explicitly “protected” is fair game for attacks (slut-shaming, fat-shaming, etc.).


Capitalism is utterly out of our control. And maybe more accurately, human civilization is utterly out of control.
But technology can be and is the enabling tool of both utopia and dystopia.


I know a lot of Jews who do not consider this to be true.


Well, yes but “We sometimes try a little bit to briefly hide some kinds of hate speech but we’re hot death on nipple pics” is something PR people have a hard time saying.


Did you intend to say humanism?

Facebook’s automated system suggested “Second Amendment” as an additional category that would boost our audience size to 119,000 people, presumably because its system had correlated gun enthusiasts with anti-Semites.

I am Mark’s lack of surprise.

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I’m not surprised either, but there’s some deep weirdness in that particular intersection.

The local NRA shoots are run by a staunchly Republican Jew, the father of one of my closest friends. If you want or need an AK47, he’s the go-to guy.

Lots of fundamentalist Christian American gun lovers are fervent supporters of Israel, despite being deeply bigoted against both Jews and Arabs.

“I weep for my country when I think that God is just.”

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They aren’t incompatible beliefs.

You can’t have the second coming of Jesus until all the Jews are back in Israel. They are still at the point of asking “nicely”, eventually they will get to deportation when all the people who want to go willingly are already there.

Then, if that wasn’t bad enough, they will be expected to convert to Christianity.

The Anglican church that I used to attend rejected the above, but it seems to be a common belief in fundamentalist churches.