Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg says anti-Semitic targeting was 'a fail on our part'

Sheryl Sandberg Chief Operating Officer of Facebook delivers a speech during a visit in Paris France

Sheryl Sandberg Chief Operating Officer of Facebook delivers a speech during a visit in Paris France

First, Facebook said it will better ensure that content that contravenes community standards can not be used to target ads, including anything derogatory related to race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, sex, gender identity, disability or disease. Facebook announced the changes in the wake of a ProPublica report that the Menlo Park-based company had enabled advertisers to reach "Jew haters".

"If we discover unintended consequences in the future, we will be unrelenting in identifying and fixing them as quickly as possible", she wrote. After restricting self-reported fields for education and profession, Facebook will now restore approximately 5,000 of the most popular responses, all of which have now been reviewed to ensure they don't violate company standards. Earlier this month Facebook revealed that a Russian "troll farm" had spent $100,000 on politically-oriented ads during the election, and the company shut down 470 Russian-associated pages and accounts. "We have long had a firm policy against hate on Facebook", Sandberg wrote. "And we did not find it ourselves - and that is also on us".

Facebook will add more human reviewers to its advertising system after admitting it failed to prevent, or even notice, anti-Semitic targeting on the network.

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This month, Facebook revealed that fake accounts and pages that likely have ties to Russian Federation spent $100,000 in divisive political ads before the USA presidential election.

Noting in the post that she is Jewish, Sanderg expressed disappointment that Facebook's systems allowed anti-Semitic and other bigoted language to be used in targeting ads, saying she is "disgusted by these sentiments".

In addition, Sandberg said the company has clarified its advertising policies and will toughen up its enforcement. Additional targeting options, she said, would have "more manual review", but didn't specify whether each new targeting option would be reviewed manually or whether the company would need to hire more people to conduct so many manual reviews.

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Facebook is also working on a program "to encourage people on Facebook to report potential abuses of our ads system to us directly", Sandberg said.

Facebook has had trouble in the past policing its ads.

It's unclear if Facebook will also restore employer names.

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