Jessica Goodfellow
Apr 27, 2020

Facebook criticised for 'pseudoscience' ad targeting category

Facebook has paused the availability of some of its other ad targeting categories after the pseudoscience category—particularly problematic during COVID-19—was exposed.

Facebook criticised for 'pseudoscience' ad targeting category

Facebook was until last week allowing advertisers to target users that it had identified as interested in “pseudoscience”, jarring with the company's actions to curb the spread of COVID-19 misinformation  across its platforms.

The social-media network removed the category from its ad portal last week following a Markup investigation, which found that the interest category reportedly contained more than 78 million users and was actively available during COVID-19.

Permitting advertisers to target users that may be interested in “pseudoscience”, while publicly announcing several efforts to prevent COVID-19 misinformation or conspiracy theories from running on its platform, appears hypocritical. It has been removing content with "false claims or conspiracy theories" relating to COVID-19 since January. Although a separate investigation by US nonprofit Consumer Reports earlier this month found that ads containing deliberate and dangerous misinformation relating to COVID-19 are slipping through Facebook's ad review system.

A Facebook spokesperson told Campaign Asia-Pacific: “We've removed this targeting option to prevent potential abuse in ads.”

The spokesperson added that the pseudoscience interest category "should have been removed in a previous review" and that the company will "continue to review our interest categories". It has paused the availability of some of its other interest categories whilst it evaluates their potential for misuse.

Tags

Related Articles

Just Published

6 hours ago

WPP: Greenpeace is ‘right’ to protest but we will ...

CEO Mark Read responds after Greenpeace protested about climate crisis at WPP beach at Cannes Lions.

9 hours ago

Cannes Lions 2022: What keeps chief creative ...

Impact BBDO’s Ali Rez, TBWA\Chiat\Day New York’s Amy Ferguson, and Droga5’s Scott Bell discussed lessons learnt from the pandemic, and challenges creative folks face in advertising.

9 hours ago

WPP: Greenpeace is ‘right’ to protest but we will ...

CEO Mark Read responds after Greenpeace protested about climate crisis at WPP beach at Cannes Lions.

9 hours ago

TVNZ says its content is so good you forget where ...

In a new campaign by Dentsu, characters land themselves in unfortunate positions at the ‘fault’ of the broadcast network.