Following the discovery that Facebook’s advertising algorithm offered advertisers the opportunity to target categories of users whose views were summarised as “Jew hater”, “How to burn Jews”, or “History of ‘why Jews ruin the world’”, it has now emerged that Twitter and Google also provide an means of targeting antisemites on their platforms.
Twitter has now been found offering a means of targeting almost 19 million users who might be particularly interested in hearing about a “Nazi” offering, and Google has been exposed for suggesting “good quality” keywords to antisemitic advertisers such as “the evil Jew”, “Jewish parasite”, “Jews control the media” and “Jewish control of banks”.
It comes as no surprise whatsoever that these titans of social networking and search can identify antisemites easily: their businesses are driven by their ability to reach huge numbers of people, and profile those people precisely enough to allow advertisers to target specific groups according to their interests.
Now we know Facebook, Twitter, Google and no doubt many others, have developed algorithms so advanced that they even manage to identify antisemites by accident. This shows how easy it is to find Facebook, Twitter and YouTube users who hate Jews. Many antisemites on these platforms make no effort at all to conceal or disguise their hatred, brazenly sharing neo-Nazi, far-left or Islamist antisemitic material. What is so shameful is not that these antisemites exist, but that Facebook, Twitter and Google evidently can identify them and chooses not to expel them from their social networking platform.
Perhaps even more outrageous is that these companies will have been collecting money from advertisers seeking to target antisemites, perhaps to invite them to Jew-hatred rallies or to share antisemitic conspiracy myths with them. Despite apologising when caught out, none of these companies have revealed how much money they made, or what will be done with the proceeds.
The reasons that these companies are so tolerant of antisemites might be related. These online titans are funded by the advertising they sell, which depends on continued growth in the number of their users, and the ability to reliably target all of those users according to their interests. Using their advanced antisemite-targeting algorithms to excise antisemites, extremists and other undesirable people from their social networking platforms could start to slightly dent the growth in the number of their users, which is a key metric of the companies’ success and their attractiveness as advertising platforms.
Now we have confirmation that internet giants are sitting on technology for targeting antisemitic users, but they are using it to sell ads instead of expelling the bigots. That is the real scandal here.