Twitter has reportedly apologised after an investigation found that it permitted advertisements to be micro-targeted at neo-Nazis and other bigots, as well as vulnerable young people suffering from eating disorders.
The social media giant allows brands to target their advertisements at users who search for particular words and phrases, in order to pinpoint users most likely to be interested in their product or service.
An investigation found that companies could send adverts to users who have searched for words such as “white supremacists”. It also showed that targeting people in the UK using the term “neo-Nazi” could reach as many as 81,000 people.
Twitter has been criticised in the past over extremism on its platform. In a statement, the company said that its “preventative measures include banning certain sensitive or discriminatory terms, which we update on a continuous basis. In this instance, some of these terms were permitted for targeting purposes. This was an error.
“We’re very sorry this happened and as soon as we were made aware of the issue, we rectified it. We continue to enforce our ads policies, including restricting the promotion of content in a wide range of areas, including inappropriate content targeting minors.”