Facebook has been claiming that it is effectively addressing hate on its platforms. ADL and others, however, have continued to expose egregious examples of online hate, misinformation and extremism across the company’s products, particularly on Facebook and Instagram. Whether or not these posts technically violate Facebook’s complicated guidelines around hate speech, as a result of the platform’s casual placement of ads, paid advertisements run a risk of being placed next to divisive (and sometimes blatantly hateful) content. Indeed, even a cursory investigation conducted by ADL’s analysts immediately surfaced examples of prominent brands’ advertising displayed on newsfeeds next to hateful and conspiratorial content. Although we have not spoken to these companies, we can assume that their intentions when buying advertising on Facebook did not include being displayed alongside such content.
Both large national brands and small regional brands appear alongside content that ADL and many others would deem hateful or extremist. For example, Airbnb’s and Pepco’s ads appear next to posts from a Facebook group of the Three Percenters. The Three Percenters are a wing of the anti-government militia movement. The Facebook group of the Three Percenters has 8,000 members and consistently writes content that ADL would deem in violation of Facebook’s polcies around dangerous organizations. The below ad for Airbnb appears next to a hateful, anti-Muslim image from that same Facebook group that draws on the recent decision by Quaker Oats to retire the name Aunt Jemima.