Friday, October 05, 2018

Speak No Evil… Or What They Think Is Evil

LGBT ads on Facebook are being block because of their new filters blocking hateful political posts.
Facebook blocked many gay-themed ads as part of its new advertising policy, angering LGBT groups
The Washington Post
By Eli Rosenberg
October 3, 2018

The advertisements all seemed innocuous at a glance.

A ribald sendup of fairy tales hosted by a comedian in Los Angeles. A Spanish-language social group for Latino men, sponsored by a community center in Las Vegas. And a list of senior-friendly housing options distributed by a nonprofit group in Texas.

But they were all blocked by Facebook. The company’s system, which uses automated and human monitors, determined that the advertisements were “political,” though they did not involve advocacy or any explicitly political views.

The common thread between them all? LGBT themes.

The Washington Post found dozens of advertisements mentioning LGBT themes and words that the company blocked for supposedly being political, according to a public database Facebook keeps.
When the Post contact Facebook, they said,
The rejections, the majority of which Facebook told The Post were in error, underscore the company’s challenges in regulating the massive amount of information flowing through its service, an issue that burst into the fore after the disclosure that Russian-state actors used advertisements on Facebook to sow discord during the 2016 U.S. election. But they also touch on a deeper tension as the company seeks to better regulate political uses of its platform. Though Facebook has taken pains to appear neutral, the censorship of LGBT ads, however inadvertent, points to the company’s difficulty in finding a middle ground in a tense national climate where policy increasingly hinges on fundamental questions about race and identity.

“We were completely targeted simply because we were LGBT,” he said, “for what we’re advertising — ads that promote our programs that help support the community and celebrate pride. There’s nothing political about that."
It seems like their AI (Artificial Intelligence) is not too smart and has a bias.

Meanwhile NewNowNext reported that…
Facebook removed the option to target ads by sexual orientation last month but did not publicly announce the change, which effectively makes companies and organizations unable to specifically target the LGBT community.A temporary exception was made for dating apps, but all dating apps will lose the ability to target by sexual orientation by the end of April.
So this has been going on for a while.

The Washington Post goes on to report,
Facebook declined to explain how the filtering process works and how much of the filtering was driven by algorithms rather than human monitors.

Facebook’s new policies require those seeking to promote posts on political topics and candidates to register with the company and mandate that the ads include information about their funding, or the advertisements will be blocked. If these companies had taken the steps to register as political entities with Facebook, a process that requires a driver’s license or passport, a personal home address and the last four digits of a Social Security number, then the ads would have been permitted.
Okay, suppose that your agency is a non-profit and under the 501(c)3 IRS tax code, you are barred from politics and you want to advertise for…
The experience of Thomas Garguilo, a retiree in New York who operates a page dedicated to the history of the Stonewall Inn, a national landmark, reflects the company’s confusing treatment of LGBT-themed ads. Garguilo said that so many of his ads have gotten blocked by Facebook that he has stopped using the words “LGBT” or “gay” in his language on the service.

“It’s ludicrous. And Orwellian,” he said.
A Facebook employee in the company’s Global Marketing Solutions division wrote him back to explain why the company viewed the ad as political.

“Thanks for the email now after reviewing the screenshots you have provided, it mentions LGBT which would fall under the category of civil rights which is a political topic,” the Facebook employee wrote back, according to copies of the correspondence provided to The Post. “You would need to be authorized to run ads with this content.”
So according to Facebook they would have to “as political entities with Facebook” but that would violate their non-profit status.

It seems like Facebook has painted itself in to a corner and I think it sounds like discrimination.

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