Sep 20, 2017

Facebook making changes after targeted ads controversy

Noah Berger / AP

Facebook is making changes after it emerged that offensive self-reported demographic information, like "jew haters," could be used to target ads within Facebook's automated advertising system.

In a personal post, COO Sheryl Sandberg announced the company is strengthening its ads targeting policies and tools.

The steps include "clarifying" ad policies, "tightening" enforcement, limiting the targeting options to 5,000 commonly-used terms, and creating a program to report issues with ads.

Why it matters: Ad buyers love Facebook because it's very efficient: It's cheap (although getting more expensive), and very effective in targeting the right people with the right format. It can be efficient because of its massive scale, both in the people it can reach and the data it can gather and let marketers use to target people. Clamping down on targeting terms and tightening controls limits Facebook's efficiency for marketers with bad intentions and ensures that Facebook remains a brand-safe environment both for its advertisers and publishers.

Our thought bubble: This is an especially poignant message coming from Sandberg, a revenue expert, who repeatedly reminds investors on earnings calls that Facebook's top priority is to help marketers execute effective ad campaigns. Facebook's willingness to clean up targeting terms in its system shows that they take this issue seriously.

Go deeper

Why the coronavirus pandemic is hitting minorities harder

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

The coronavirus’ disproportionate impact on black and Latino communities has become a defining part of the pandemic.

The big picture: That's a result of myriad longstanding inequities within the health care system and the American economy.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 p.m. ET: 6,804,044 — Total deaths: 362,678 — Total recoveries — 2,788,806Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 p.m. ET: 1,909,077 — Total deaths: 109,497 — Total recoveries: 491,706 — Total tested: 19,231,444Map.
  3. Public health: Some people are drinking and inhaling cleaning products in attempt to fight coronavirus, CDC says Fauci: "Very concerned" about spread of virus amid George Floyd protests — Cities offer free testing for protesters.
  4. Tech: The pandemic is accelerating next-generation disease diagnostics — Robotics looks to copy software-as-a-service model as use of robots accelerates.
  5. Business: Sports, film production in California to resume June 12 after 3-month hiatus.
  6. Education: Students and teachers flunked remote learning.

In photos: George Floyd's North Carolina memorial service

The remains of George Floyd are brought into Cape Fear Conference B Church. Photo: Ed Clemente/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Hundreds gathered in Raeford, North Carolina to honor George Floyd, whose death in Minneapolis nearly two weeks ago has sparked nationwide protests against police brutality.

The state of play: This is the second memorial for Floyd. A number of his family members remain in Raeford, including his sister. He was born in Fayetteville, North Carolina, The News and Observer reports.