Facebook advertises a sexist photo-ad urging non-users to join Instagram

Getty Images

Getty Images

On this photograph was a screenshot of an email which said, "Olivia, you f****** b****" and "I will rape you".

The ad was a screenshot of an email received by journalist Olivia Solon, who posted the Instagram ad on her Twitter account.

Reportedly, one reported of the publication Olivia Solon recently learned that Instagram was advertising its platform on Facebook using a screenshot that she had taken and posted on Instagram about a year ago.

The photo-sharing app, which is owned by Facebook, inadvertently promoted its product through an ad which showed the email whose subject line read: 'Olivia, you f***ing b***h!' It's possible that Instagram's algorithm considered it an "engaging" post due to the number of responses. The screenshot was a hateful e-mail that she had received, which read, "I will rape you before I kill you, you filthy w***e!"

The inadvertent ad is the result of an algorithm used by Instagram that boosts posts that generate buzz.

The photo received three likes and more than a dozen sympathetic comments.

ProPublica, a non-profit news organization based in NY, reported last week that it was possible to buy Facebook ads targeted to people who, on their Facebook profiles, had listed anti-Semitic topics in their field of study or work.

The distasteful ad has surfaced at a time when Facebook is facing intense scrutiny over the ethical failings of its algorithms and advertising tools.

Facebook announced on Wednesday that it will add "more human review and oversight" to its ad-buying system.

The company would create a program to encourage people on Facebook to report potential abuses of its ads system directly to the company, she said.

Facebook also admitted this month that an influence operation probably based in Russian Federation bought $100,000 worth of ads to promote divisive political messages.

Facebook auto-emails me urging me to buy an ad to promote my post about their Jew-hating ad category.

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