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Facebook’s ads take a sour turn

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CBS News
September 19, 2017

Facebook (FB) is an advertiser’s dream: a digital walled garden where 2 billion people hand over information about where they work, what schools they attended and what they like to do on the weekends. 

That’s helped make the company a must-have for many marketers, who can slice and dice their ad campaigns to target specific groups, such as women over 45 years old who like to garden and who live in Idaho. Its reach and reams of data have also turned Facebook into a mighty financial engine, with its second-quarter ad sales jumping 47 percent to $9.2 billion from a year earlier.

Yet that success has come at a cost for Facebook. The company faces questions about how it sells ads, its safeguards for ensuring malicious or problematic ads are weeded out of the system, and whether lawmakers and regulators need to step in. Russia bought $100,000 in advertising on its platform during the 2016 presidential election cycle, generating 3,000 ads connected with 470 “inauthentic accounts,” the social media giant said earlier this month.

Investigative news site ProPublica’s recent revelation that Facebook could target ads to unsavory groups such as self-described “Jew haters” adds to the questions facing the social network. While most consumers understand the Internet has no shortage of hate speech, news that Facebook let advertisers m if inadvertently, target such a demographic came as a shock.

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This article was posted: Tuesday, September 19, 2017 at 8:10 am

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