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

20 hours ago

Food delivery brands in Asia stay nimble amid lockdowns

TOP OF THE CHARTS: The pandemic is driving innovation in takeaway food, as confined consumers seek to bring restaurant experiences to their homes, according to Circus Social.

20 hours ago

Unilever Nepal takes on stigmatising of returning ...

The company, along with Unicef and Nepal star Rajesh Hamal, makes a case for understanding in a campaign by Outreach Nepal.

21 hours ago

Coke's 'The great meal' is pretty great

Global spot by Anomaly is the real thing.

21 hours ago

Carslberg China marketer Priyadarshini Sharma moves on

Former Women to Watch 2019 winner joins spice and condiment company McCormick in newly-created Asia-Pacific role.