Home Tech Germany’s far-right party posts hate ads on Facebook and Instagram

Germany’s far-right party posts hate ads on Facebook and Instagram

0 comment
Germany's far-right party posts hate ads on Facebook and Instagram

Earlier this month, a German court ruled that the country’s far-right nationalist party, Alternative for Germany (AfD), was potentially “extremist” and could justify surveillance by the country’s intelligence apparatus.

Campaign ads published by AfD may still appear on Facebook and Instagram, according to a report. new report from the nonprofit advocacy organization that Ekō shared exclusively with WIRED. Investigators found 23 ads that racked up 472,000 views for the party on Facebook and Instagram and that appeared to violate Meta’s own hate speech policies.

The ads promote the narrative that migrants are dangerous and a burden on the German state ahead of European Union elections in June.

An ad placed by AfD politician Gereon Bollman claims that Germany has seen “an explosion of sexual violence” since 2015, specifically blaming migrants from Turkey, Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq. The ad was seen by between 10,000 and 15,000 people in just four days, between March 16 and 20, 2024. Another ad, which had more than 60,000 views, shows a black man lying in a hammock. The superimposed text reads: “AfD reveals: 686,000 illegal aliens live at our expense!”

Ekō was also able to identify at least three ads that appear to have used generative AI to manipulate images, although only one was published after Meta implemented its manipulated media policy. One shows a white woman with visible injuries, accompanied by text that says “the connection between migration and crime has been denied for years.”

“Meta, and indeed other companies, have very limited ability to detect third-party tools that generate AI images,” says Vicky Wyatt, senior campaign manager at Ekō. “When extremist parties use these tools with their ads, they can create incredibly emotive images that can really move people. “That’s why it’s incredibly worrying.”

In its submission to the European Commission’s consultation on electoral guidelines, obtained through a freedom of information request by Ekō, Meta says that “it is not yet possible for providers to identify all AI-generated content, particularly where actors take measures to try to avoid it.” detection, including by removing invisible markers.”

goal own policies prohibit advertisements that “claim that people are a threat to the safety, health or survival of others based on their personal characteristics” and advertisements that “include generalizations indicating inferiority, other statements of inferiority, expressions of contempt, expressions of contempt, expressions of disgust.” , or cursing based on immigration status.”

“We do not allow hate speech on our platforms and have community standards that apply to all content, including ads,” says Meta spokesperson Daniel Roberts. “Our ad review process has several layers of analysis and detection, both before and after an ad is published, and this system is one of many we have in place to protect the European elections.” Roberts told WIRED that the company plans to review the ads flagged by Ekō, but did not respond to questions about whether the German court’s designation of AfD as potentially extremist would invite greater scrutiny from Meta.

Targeted ads, Wyatt says, can be powerful because extremist groups can more effectively target people who might be sympathetic to their views and “use Meta’s ad library to reach them.” Wyatt also says this allows the group to test which messages are most likely to resonate with voters.

You may also like