While Facebook continues to censor LGBTQ+ words, a new report shows the social media platform has made over a million dollars from hate groups.
According to a recently published report by the investigative news website Sludge, Facebook made more than $1.6 million from May 2018 to September 2019 by promoting sponsored ads disparaging LGBTQ+ people, immigrants, Muslims, and other marginalized groups.
Of the more than 4,900 ads catalogued in its report, anti-LGBTQ+ groups paid Facebook more than $542,000 to advertise on its platform. These organizations included Alliance Defending Freedom, which pushes anti-trans bathroom bills and defended Christian baker Jack Phillips at the Supreme Court, and the Family Research Council, which believes homosexuality is “unnatural” and supports the widely discredited practice of conversion therapy.
The organizations, which have been classified as “hate groups” by the Southern Poverty Law Center, reportedly paid $392,000 and $107,000, respectively, to run ads on Facebook. Choice advertisements surveyed by Sludge refer to LGBTQ+ people as “evil.”
Facebook also reportedly accepted $960,000 from anti-immigrant groups and $70,000 from anti-Muslim groups.
The Mark Zuckerberg-owned social media giant — which reportedly commands 2.4 billion active monthly users — has yet to comment publicly on the claims on either its Twitter account or company blog. However, an unnamed spokesperson told Sludge that Facebook’s Community Standards “clearly state that hate groups are not allowed.”
According to Sludge, the company said it “has a lengthy process to determine which groups are hate groups and doesn’t use any single organization or academic’s hate group designations.”
This isn’t the first time Facebook has faced scrutiny over how it moderates LGBTQ+ related content on its site. The platform has been accused of censoring and even banning LGBTQ+ users who use reclaimed words like “faggot” and “dyke” in their posts; even a post about Allison Bechdel’s seminal lesbian comic Dykes to Watch Out For was reportedly flagged by moderators.
In contrast, when Out contacted the company about religious groups promoting conversion therapy on Instagram — a platform it owns — Facebook said the posts did not violate its Community Standards.