Google allowed advertisers to target ads for people searching racist and anti-Semitic phrases like "black people ruin neighborhoods" and "Jewish control of banks," BuzzFeed News discovered, through its own experimental ad campaign.
Google would also suggest other offensive phrases based off the keywords. "Why do Jews ruin everything," for example, prompted advertisers to also run ads on "the evil Jew":
Here's a quick breakdown of how the campaign was built. Typing an exact match for "why do jews ruin everything" into Google's ad buying tool generated 77 additional keyword suggestions, from "jews ruin the world" to "jewish parasites." The keyword tool generates suggestions from the text on the destination website copy, and also pulls from search trends. Google is looking into the way the tool works, and making updates to it, the company told BuzzFeed News. [BuzzFeed News]
Google has since disabled all the keywords found by BuzzFeed News, although "Blacks destroy everything" is reportedly still appearing as eligible to run ad campaigns on.
On Thursday, Facebook said it will no longer let advertisers reach users who have said they are interested in anti-Semitic topics, including "how to burn Jews," or who called themselves "Jew haters," which were apparently categories created by an algorithm. Read more about Facebook's advertising at The Week and Google's at BuzzFeed News.