Alex Cox of Sludge.com has exposed that Facebook has taken in nearly $1.6 million from hate groups since mid-2018 despite company’s supposed policy of banning hate speech.
Sludge’s review of Facebook ad data found that at least 38 hate groups and hate figures, or their political campaigns, paid Facebook nearly $1.6 million to run 4,921 sponsored ads. Some ads call undocumented immigration an “invasion.” Others claim that LGBT people are “evil.”
Close to $960,000 of Facebook ad revenue came from anti-immigrant groups, and $542,000 was spent by anti-LGBTQ groups. Anti-Muslim groups spent close to $70,000 on ads, although plenty of anti-immigrant groups are also anti-Muslim.
Because Facebook only began publishing ad information in mid-2018, the company has surely made multiple millions from these groups’ advertisements over time. The top spenders since then are the anti-immigrant Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR, which spent $910,000 on Facebook ads), the anti-LGBT Alliance Defending Freedom ($392,000), the anti-LGBT Family Research Council ($107,000, including ads worth $6,850 that it bought for its president Tony Perkins’ page), the anti-Muslim Clarion Project ($55,000), the anti-LGBTQ Illinois Family Institute ($33,000), and the anti-immigrant Californians for Population Stabilization ($20,000).
“This is an astounding amount of money that’s been allowed to be spent by hate groups,” Keegan Hankes, research director of the Southern Poverty Law Center Intelligence Project. “It reaches a lot of people with some very toxic ideologies. Obviously that’s incredibly worrisome, if not a little unsurprising given Facebook’s track record specifically around these ideologies.”
Interestingly Facebook which has a zero tolerance policy on what it deems as “obscene” photographs banned the discussion of sexual preferences and positions, labeling it as “sexual solicitation,” last year. LGBT-themed ads were also being blocked and flagged as “political” last year due to a new advertising policy.
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