Facebook, Google, and Twitter are facing a lot of difficult questions over their ad policies after it came to light this week that all three companies allowed advertisers to run targeted ads based on hate speech.

Though the circumstances around each case were slightly different, each one was the result of a mostly-automated system that allowed advertisers to buy ads targeted toward people likely to respond to hate speech and other offensive language.

And, in each case, the companies claimed that it wasn’t supposed to happen. Yet the fact that media outlets were able to buy ads for these terms so easily, and in such quick succession, highlights how little these companies — who count themselves among the biggest tech giants — were doing to prevent this from happening in the first place. …

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