Monday, October 22, 2018
Facebook now removes ads that mention identity groups, possibly hindering legitimate medical material
Now Facebook is reported to have taken down ads mention identity groups, such as “African-American”, “LGBT”, etc. claiming these ads are “political” Jessica Guyun has a story on USA Today Oct. 17, here.
Many legitimate ads, especially medical ones, do identify some groups as more susceptible to certain diseases than others. African-Americans may have more high blood pressure and certain cancers. This is particularly true of pancreatic cancer, for which Stanford University senior Jack Andraka (himself white) invented a new diagnostic test for a science fair project. Alyssa Frankin recently died of pancreatic cancer.
It’s also true that gay men are more likely to acquire HIV, although the relative difference has dropped a lot since the 1980s. But African Americans within the gay community seem to have higher incidence today.
Facebook is also having trouble, as I found, with issue ads that are non-partisan but perceived as skewed to one party (my concern over power grid security is definitely non-partisan but is perceived as a “conservative” or Fox-News-like cause). Monitors understandably would have difficulty proving that an article wasn’t foreign-sponsored. That’s why Facebook is a lot more comfortable with ads that sell products – but some of these products can be more popular with one group than another.
I am not a believer in identity politics and am pretty anti-tribalist myself, but this new policy seems even more self-defeating by FB.