Facebook targeted young LGBTI people with ‘gay cure’ advertisements

'Gay cure' conversion therapy is legal in the UK | Photo: Pixabay

Facebook has reportedly targeted young LGBTI people with ‘predatory’ targeted advertisements for gay cure therapy.

The social media giant uses specially designed algorithms to target advertising to its users based on their online behaviours.

But young LGBTI people reported feeling ‘shaken’ at seeing ads promoting ‘sexual purity’, according to a report in The Telegraph.

When users clicked ‘why am I seeing this ad’, it responded because they had shown an interest in ‘gender issues’.

Gay cure or conversion therapy is a widely condemned practice and illegal in many places around the world.

Facebook user, Alystair Ryder, said it was irresponsible for Facebook to target young LGBTI people.

Ryder said when he saw the ad it left him feeling ‘shaken’.

‘It was written in a way to try to appeal to people who may be depressed or self loathing due to their sexuality,’ he said.

‘I think it’s pretty irresponsible for Facebook to allow an advert that preys on gay men with mental health issues in such a negative way on their homepage.’

Facebook’s ‘blunder’

The social medias site said that a mistake in the ‘micro-targeting algorithm’ lead to the young LGBTI people seeing the ads. It claims to have since removed the ads from the feeds of young LGBTI people.

Tessa Ann Schwartz, slammed the Facebook for allowing young people to see the ads. She complained to Facebook.

‘I don’t know why Facebook has permitted this group to target LGBT people, who have intentionally sought out community and education amongst peers, for shaming and hatred masked as love,’ Schwartz told The Telegraph.

In the United Kingdom, people forced to undergo ‘gay cure’ therapy reported being nearly drowned and starved. In some countries people are beaten, raped, force-fed, injected with drugs against their will and forced to aggressively ‘pray the gay away’.

Almost every mainstream health and psychiatry organization in the world has condemned the practice.