BuzzFeed said that a worker based in Facebook’s Austin office was fired after its inquiries sparked an internal investigation.
The employee, a member of Facebook’s policy team, accepted bribes to reinstate accounts for controversial marketing company Ads Inc. which violated Facebook policies.
The scam ads included
“free trials” of products falsely claiming to have celebrity endorsements,
which locked unwitting victims into inflexible monthly subscriptions.
“This behavior is absolutely prohibited under our policies and the individual is no longer working with Facebook,” a Facebook spokesperson told BuzzFeed News.
“We’re continuing to investigate the allegations and will take any further necessary action.”
A former Ads Inc. employee told BuzzFeed the company had more than one person inside Facebook who would turn ads back on for a fee.
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Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia told BuzzFeedNews that the revelation of a Facebook employee being bribed to reactivate scam ads was further evidence of the unaccountability of platforms and the corruption endemic to digital advertising markets.
“For over four years, I have raised concerns to the [Federal Trade Commission] that behavioral advertising markets are rife with fraud,” Warner said in a statement, adding that these were “indications of large problems in the opaque, heavily concentrated, and largely unsupervised behavioral advertising market.”
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