Facebook 'quickly' approves COVID-19 misinformation ads

Occurred: April 2020

Facebook approved ads containing blatant misinformation about the evolving COVID-19 pandemic, according to a third-party investigation.

Consumer advocacy organisation Consumer Reports placed seven ads under a false name with no advertising history advising people to drink bleach and other false or dangerous claims, all of which were quickly approved by Facebook.

Facebook's advertising screening system is highly automated, with humans only involved in helping train the algorithms and occasionally reviewing specific ads before they run.

Consumer Reports quotes digital rights researchers and digital marketing experts saying that Facebook's advertising system is opaque, overly complex, and poorly documented and explained.

Operator: Meta/Facebook
Developer: Meta/Facebook
Country: USA
Sector: Technology
Purpose: Review advertising
Technology: Advertising management system
Issue: Accuracy/reliability; Mis/disinformation
Transparency: Governance; Black box

Research, advocacy 🧮

Page info
Type: Incident
Published: December 2021