Facebook is still struggling to contain the video of last weekend’s horrific mass shooting in Buffalo, New York. Now, not only are clips of the shooting accessible on the platform, sometimes reposted clips of the attack appear alongside Facebook ads, The New York Times reports.
The Times notes that it’s not clear how often ads appear alongside clips of the shooting, but the paper said that “searches for terms associated with images of the shooting were associated with ads for a horror film, clothing companies and video streaming services,” in their own tests and tests conducted by the Tech Transparency Project.
While this isn’t a new problem for Facebook — the platform committed similar missteps in the wake of a 2019 shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand — the company even seems to recommend search terms related to videos of the shooting in some cases, according to The New York Times, which said Facebook suggested some searches as “popular now.”
As with previous mass shootings and violent events, it has proven difficult for social media platforms to contain footage originally streamed to Twitch by the Buffalo shooter. Facebook previously told Engadget it had classified the event as a terrorist attack and was in the process of automatically detecting new instances shared with its service.
But videos still fall through the cracks. And the fact that Facebook is running ads near those videos probably raises even more questions about whether the company puts profit over safety, as one whistleblower claimed.
In a statement, a company spokesperson told The Times it was trying to “protect people who use our services from seeing this horrific content, even if bad actors are determined to draw attention to it.”
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