Facebook’s algorithm has rejected another Jewish organization’s advertisement combating anti-Semitism.
The Jewish Federation of Broward County in Florida said it attempted to buy an ad on Facebook that put the spotlight on anti-Semitism as part of the “Shine A Light” campaign. The ad was very basic. All it said was “Shine a light on hate and antisemitism” with a background of a lit menorah.
According to JWeekly, Facebook’s automated system rejected the ad without saying why. The Federation was left wondering if the post had accidentally been flagged by an algorithm removing hate content.
This was not the first time that Facebook has removed an ad speaking out against anti-Semitism without explanation. There have been multiple similar instances since Facebook began removing Holocaust denial posts in October 2020.
In October 2021, Facebook rejected ads for a class dealing with anti-Semitism and Jewish identity, citing “sensitive social issues” that could influence elections or upcoming legislation.
The class, “Outsmarting Antisemitism,” was offered by the Rohr Jewish Learning Institute (JLI), a Chabad organization that offers adult Jewish courses on Jewish history, law, ethics, philosophy and rabbinical literature.
The Broward Federation’s chair Alan Cohn and its CEO Mark Freeman sent a letter to Facebook on Tuesday. They wrote: “Unfortunately, Facebook inexplicably rejected our ads, presumably because they contained the words ‘hate’ and ‘anti-Semitism.’ This, we believe, is an unintended, but calamitous consequence of your effort to curb hate speech.”
Writing to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg, the Federation commended the company’s action to remove hateful content but went on to say that its current practices do “as much harm as good.”
They also asked Facebook to approve their ad and to redouble their effort to promote organizations that combat hate speech.