Facebook 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 printed on Wednesday, DR cited specialists expressing issues that the tag – that Fb known as an “curiosity class” – may very well be utilized by intelligence companies in authoritarian regimes to determine individuals thought-about subversive.

Fb, the world’s largest social community with greater than 2 billion customers, creates classes equivalent to “sports activities” or “music” based mostly on individuals’s on-line pursuits, permitting corporations 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 is an criminal activity, we have eliminated it as an curiosity class,” a Fb spokesman stated in an e-mail to Reuters.

Exports advised DR the tag may have been utilized by Russian authorities to find about 65,000 Fb customers whose on-line behaviour had marked them as considering “treason”.

The Fb spokesman stated: “After 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 legislation enforcement.”

Individually on Wednesday, Britain’s info regulator stated it could fine Fb GBP 500,000 ($663,000) for breaches of knowledge safety legislation after hundreds of thousands of customers’ knowledge was improperly accessed by consultancy Cambridge Analytica.

© Thomson Reuters 2018

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