COPENHAGEN (Reuters) – Fb (FB.O) has eliminated “treason” as a key phrase to determine its customers’ pursuits for advertisers, it stated on Wednesday, after Danish state broadcaster DR revealed its existence.
In an article revealed on Wednesday, DR cited specialists expressing issues that the tag – that Fb referred to as an “curiosity class” – might be utilized by intelligence companies in authoritarian regimes to determine folks thought-about subversive.
Fb, the world’s largest social community with greater than 2 billion customers, creates classes similar to “sports activities” or “music” based mostly on folks’s on-line pursuits, permitting firms to higher goal their promoting.
A spokesman for the corporate stated the tag was eliminated final week.
“‘Treason’ was included as a class given its historic significance. Given it’s an criminality, we’ve eliminated it as an curiosity class,” a Fb spokesman stated in an electronic mail to Reuters.
Exports informed DR the tag may have been utilized by Russian authorities to find about 65,000 Fb customers whose on-line habits had marked them as taken with “treason”.
The Fb spokesman stated: “Once we determine misuse of our advert merchandise, we take motion. Relying on the violation, we might take away the advert, droop the advert account and even report the advertiser to regulation enforcement.”
Individually on Wednesday, Britain’s data regulator stated it will high-quality Fb 500,000 kilos ($663,000) for breaches of knowledge safety regulation after hundreds of thousands of customers’ knowledge was improperly accessed by consultancy Cambridge Analytica.
Reporting by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen; extra reporting by Stine Jacobsen and Douglas Busvine; Modifying by Robin Pomeroy