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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Just days after a gunman opened fire inside a Pittsburgh synagogue killing 11 people, a new report shows Facebook was still selling advertisers the ability to target users interested in “white genocide.”
A new report done by The Intercept shows they were able to select “white genocide conspiracy theory” as a pre-defined targeting criteria to promote articles to the group.
Accused shooter Robert Bowers is accused of killing 11 members of the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.
According to police, 46-year-old Bowers walked into the Tree of Life synagogue Saturday yelling anti-Semitic slurs and shooting at worshipers while three separate services were taking place. In addition to those killed, several were injured, including several police officers.
Bowers also allegedly posted several anti-Semitic statements on social media just minutes before the shooting.
The Intercept reports that their paid promotion on Facebook was approved to be advertised to 168,000 users defined as “people who have expressed an interest or like pages related to White genocide conspiracy theory.”
Once The Intercept contacted Facebook, the company deleted the targeting category and apologized, saying the category never should have existed in the first place.
The report comes just over a year after another investigative news organization, ProPublica, was able to expose how Facebook was doing little to vet marketers.
ProPublica showed that advertisers were able to direct their pitches to the news feed of 2,300 people who expressed anti-Semitic interests.
At that time Facebook told ProPublica that it would explore ways to fix the problem so that it doesn’t happen in the future.