Homophobic Much? Facebook Reportedly Showed Gay Conversion Therapy Ads to LGBTQ Users
When users asked why they were seeing such ads, the app told them it was because they had shown interest in gender issues.
Mark Zuckerberg Says Facebook Not Done Enough to Prevent Misuse (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Conversion therapies have widely been used as a ‘cure’ for homosexuality or for ‘fixing’ non-binary sexual orientations. The ‘treatment’ includes often pseudo-scientific application of psychotherapy, medication and sometimes even surgery.
The selective targeting trend was reported by The Telegraph in the UK and since then several queer Facebook users revealed that they, in fact, had been receiving such conversion advertisements, often by evangelists and with messages targeting ‘young men/women suffering from same-sex attractions’ and promoting ‘sexual purity’ and chastity.
When irate users clicked on the option ‘Why am I seeing this ad?’, Facebook told them it was because they had shown interest in ‘gender issues’.
Needless to say, Facebook drew widespread criticism on social media with various Twitter users referring to conversion therapy as torture and child abuse and accused Facebook of unethical profiteering.
#Facebook users (including young LGBTQ ones) reported seeing ads promoting “sexual purity” and gay conversion therapy. When inquiring about why they saw these particular ads, users were told they showed interest in “gender issues.” #DeleteFacebook https://t.co/rU1jKoV1m7
— VoxLuna🌙 (@VoxLuna) August 30, 2018
the conversion therapy ads thing would trigger a wave of resignations at any respectable company, so, you know, judge facebook's culture based on what fallout we see
— protected concerted activity enthusiast (@BlueSpaceCanary) August 30, 2018
Facebook placing ads on gay conversion therapy. Just when I think they hit a low point, they go even lower. I no longer use Facebook just another reason to add to my long list
— sonya white (@sonyawh55919237) August 30, 2018
Some even personally attacked Zuckerberg and compared conversion therapy for the queer community as racial conversion of Jews.
Got rid of fb nearly 2 years ago. Imagine if they targeted zuckerberg with Jewish conversion therapy. How would he feel. Pretty marginalised I would assume. That's how bad this is.
— Hugo Thoms #STOPBREXIT #RESIST (@hbthoms) August 30, 2018
As has now been established, non-binary sexual orientation is not an affectation or disorder but natural state of being and needs no ‘cure’. This year, the World Health Organisation removed being transgender as a mental illness.
The severe backlash forced the social media giant to post a statement in response to the controversy:
We don't allow ads that promote gay conversion therapy on Facebook. We removed these ads after further review. While we may miss some, we're working hard to make sure we quickly find and take down bad ads.
— Facebook (@facebook) August 30, 2018
According to Facebook, whose advertising policy bans provocative, discriminatory and predatory advertising, such advertisements were not encouraged by Facebook. It also said that the advertisements had been taken down once the questionable nature of the ads was brought to notice.
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