In the aftermath of an attempted insurrection by President Donald Trump's supporters last week at the US Capitol building, Facebook has served up ads for defense products to accounts that follow extremist content, according to the Tech Transparency Project, a nonprofit watchdog group. Those ads -- which include New Year's specials for specialized body armor plates, rifle enhancements, and shooting targets -- were all delivered to a TTP Facebook account used to monitor right-wing content that could incite violence. [...]
These ads for tactical gear, which were flagged internally by employees as potentially problematic, show Facebook has been profiting from content that amplifies political and cultural discord in the US.
"Facebook has spent years facilitating fringe voices who use the platform to organize and amplify calls for violence," said TTP Director Katie Paul. "As if that weren't enough, Facebook's advertising microtargeting is directing domestic extremists toward weapons accessories and armor that can make their militarized efforts more effective, all while Facebook profits." [...]
During Monday's interview, Sandberg also addressed the proliferation of hate-related content on Facebook. "I think there's a false belief that we somehow profit, that people somehow want to see this content," she said. "That's just not true." [cue laughter]
Facebook has been running ads for body armor, gun holsters, and other military equipment next to content promoting election misinformation and news about the attempted coup at the US Capitol, despite internal warnings from concerned employees.