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News Link • Social Networking/Social Media

To Fix Its Toxic Ad Problem, Facebook Must Break Itself

• https://www.wired.com

It is a sure sign that Facebook's algorithms have run amok when they allow anyone to target ads to people with an expressed interest in burning Jews. Likewise, when Russians can sow chaos in American elections by purchasing thousands of phony Facebook ads without Facebook realizing it, the automated systems selling those ads may need some oversight.

Two incidents in recent weeks have highlighted how Facebook's advertising network—the cornerstone of its half-trillion-dollar valuation—is as susceptible to manipulation and bigotry as its news feed. Facebook addresses each problem as it arises, in isolation. But maybe it's time for Facebook to acknowledge that it can't solve these problems alone and to ask for help—before governments offer their own "help."

In academia and other corners of tech, peer review is the norm. Cybersecurity companies hire outsiders to poke holes in their infrastructure and find vulnerabilities they may have missed. They don't view that as sacrificing trade secrets or spilling their special sauce. If anything, they view this extra vetting as a competitive advantage.

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