Meta Made Millions From Ads That Spread Disinformation

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When Meta’s Mark Zuckerberg was called to testify before Congress in 2018, he was asked by Senator Orin Hatch how Facebook made money. Zuckerberg’s answer has since become something of a meme: “Senator, we run ads.”

Between July 2018 and April 2022, Meta made at least $30.3 million in ad revenue from networks it removed from its own platforms for engaging in coordinated inauthentic behavior (CIB), data compiled by WIRED shows. Margarita Franklin, head of security communications at Meta, confirmed to WIRED that the company does not return the ad money if a network is taken down.

A report from The Wall Street Journal estimates that by the end of 2021, Meta absorbed 17 percent of the money in the global ad market and made $114 billion from advertising. At least some of the money came from ads purchased by networks that violated Meta’s policies and that the company itself has flagged and removed.

“The advertising industry globally is ...

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