How Did LAPD Recruitment Ads End Up on Breitbart? The Department Has Launched an Inquiry.
The Los Angeles Police Department says it has launched an inquiry into how recruitment ads for the department ended up on the right-wing news site Breitbart. It went so far as to say it suspects the ads may have been placed there deliberately by an outside party to discredit the department.
The LAPD’s announcement followed intense criticism from civil rights and social justice advocates.
Breitbart is not merely a mouthpiece for President Trump’s most controversial policies; some of its writers and staff have been linked to white supremacists and the alt-right. At one point, the website featured a news category called “black crime.” Today, it still has a section called “black-on-black violence.”
As the investigation takes off, Vice News thinks there may be a simple explanation for the recruitment ad snafu.
The likeliest explanation for how the advertisement came to be run on Breitbart is that the city's personnel department, which purchases job ads through Google, wasn't sufficiently rigorous about its ad filters. Businesses and organizations that buy ads through Google can suggest keywords and phrases that might appear on sites visited by the audience they want to target; they can also list sites on which they absolutely do not want their ads to appear.
"It might just be that Breitbart had some keywords on their homepage that matched what the LAPD has requested their ad to appear in," Bert Huang, an assistant professor of computer science at Virginia Tech, told the New York Times. "In that scenario, through no direct intent from the LAPD, it could have been inevitably matched."