Facebook is still struggling to contain the video of last weekend’s horrific mass shooting in Buffalo, New York. Now, not only are clips of the shooting accessible on the platform, reposted clips of the attack are sometimes appearing alongside Facebook ads, The New York Times reports.
The Times notes that it’s not clear how often ads are appearing alongside clips of the shooting, but the paper said that “searches for terms associated with footage of the shooting have been accompanied by ads for a horror film, clothing companies, and video streaming services,” in their own tests and tests conducted by the Tech Transparency Project.
While this isn’t a new problem for Facebook — the platform has made similar missteps in the wake of a 2019 shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand — the company is apparently in some cases actually recommending search terms associated with videos of the shooting, according to The New York Times, which said Facebook suggested some searches as being “popular now.”
As with previous mass shootings and violent events, footage originally streamed to Twitch by the gunman in Buffalo has proved difficult for social media platforms to contain. Facebook previously told Engadget that it had designated the event a terrorist attack and that it was working to automatically detect new copies that are shared to its service.
But videos are still falling through the cracks. And the fact that Facebook is surfacing ads near those videos is likely to raise further questions about whether the company prioritizes profits over safety as a whistleblower has alleged.
In a statement, a company spokesperson told The Times it was trying “to protect people using our services from seeing this horrific content even as bad actors are dead-set on calling attention to it.”