As per a report from Buzzfeed, Google allows Advertisers to create ads targeting racists people. Google is not only allowing but also suggesting advertisers to use keywords like “white people ruin” and “the evil jew”. A report from Buzzfeed has quoted the incidence as:
Type “White people ruin,” as a potential advertising keyword into Google’s ad platform, and Google will suggest you run ads next to searches including “black people ruin neighborhoods.” Type “Why do Jews ruin everything,” and Google will suggest you run ads next to searches including “the evil jew” and “Jewish control of banks.”
In order to investigate into the matter, Buzzfeed, itself purchased ads and run a live campaign without notifying the matter to the google. The Ad got 17 impressions before it was pulled out.
Taking on the same matter, Google’s senior vice president of Ads and Commerce, Sridhar Ramaswamy told in a statement, “Our goal is to prevent our keyword suggestions tool from making offensive suggestions, and to stop any offensive ads appearing, “We have language that informs advertisers when their ads are offensive and therefore rejected. In this instance, ads didn’t run against the vast majority of these keywords, but we didn’t catch all these offensive suggestions. That’s not good enough and we’re not making excuses. We’ve already turned off these suggestions, and any ads that made it through, and will work harder to stop this from happening again.”
Google also confirmed that the ads were visible to only a few thousand people in the US. Just a few hours after Google admitted to fail against the cross-check of such advertising, Daily Beast too reported similar incidence about Twitter letting advertisers target hateful words and phrases including “Nazi”, “Wetback” and more.
While Google confirmed to reach only a few thousand of people, Twitter’s platform is likely to reach more users worldwide. Daily Beast tried a variety of keywords on Twitter and found out that the process seems completely automated having no safety in place against appearance of hateful words and phrases.
Amidst all the chaos, Twitter clearly the air by stating, “The terms cited in this story have been blacklisted for several years and we are looking into why the campaign cited in this story was able to run for a very short period of time. Twitter actively prohibits and prevents any offensive ads from appearing on its platform, and we are committed to understanding why this happened and how to keep it from happening again.” to The Verge.
The social networking services also circulated a statement to quote that it has fixed the error that was allowing ads to appear on its platform. “We determined these few campaigns were able to go through because of a bug that we have now fixed,” the company said in a statement to The Daily Beast.
With these recent incidences, there is an ongoing concern in the Silicon Valley about the content surfacing on the internet today. The fact that there is lack of security measure against such activity is a huge concern for the tech industry. Ad platforms are the best medium for every company to target audiences easily and in case, they are not surveilling the authenticity of their own services becomes a matter of great concern.
This most recent ad controversy depicts how technology can be used for spreading hateful news. Additionally, the news has also spurred a fresh debate on whether these companies should have an organized pro-active approach to check the authenticity and the impact of every news that is circulated from their platform. It is high time that such incidences should be checked and varied prior to they go alive.