Meta has made thousands of dollars from hate speech ads, report finds.

It's hate speech. Why is it allowed on the platforms?


In case we needed another reason to distrust Facebook and its parent company Meta — and the overall effect the tech giant has on our culture — Media Matters just gave us one.

Media Matters identified over 150 ads that use the anti-LGBTQ “groomer” slur in 2022, garnering Facebook at least $13,600 of profit. These ads accuse people of being groomers, a word that implies that LGBTQ people seek to “groom” minors. The baseless fear tactic began rising in public discourse as part of the rhetoric used to enact conservative policies on LGBTQ youth, like denying transgender kids gender-affirming healthcare and involvement in school sports. Some anti-LGBTQ extremists have been labeling LGBTQ adults and those who support them as “groomers,” leaning on an age-old hateful idea that LGBTQ people are predators. The word “groomer” has been steadily rising in Google trends since 2014.

So it’s no surprise that far-right extremists would use the term in their social media ads. But this word is obviously hate speech — which means it violates Meta’s policies and can’t be posted on the site. Over 150 hateful ads slipped through the cracks, according to the Media Matters report. Meta did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Mashable.

Media Matters found “groomer” ads have earned over one million impressions. Meta failed to remove nearly 100 ads after the group reported them, even though Meta has clearly stated that “groomer” rhetoric violates its policies.

This comes just a month after Media Matter reported on 134 ads that used “groomer” rhetoric on Meta’s platform. Only 40 of those ads were removed, and 19 new ads have run since then.

MASHABLE