Reuters – The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating a Facebook advertising program that allowed its advertisers to target their ads to people in countries with high murder rates, including Pakistan and Bangladesh.
The program was first reported by CNN.
The Justice Department has opened a criminal probe into whether the ads were placed without the consent of the companies’ owners.
The department said in a statement that it is looking into the matter as part of an ongoing probe into foreign advertising practices that could create a national security risk.
The DOJ did not say when it will determine if it will take any further action against Facebook or Facebook’s owners.
“Facebook has cooperated fully with the DOJ’s investigation,” Facebook said in an emailed statement.
Facebook has more than 4.5 million users in Pakistan and another 1.5 billion in Bangladesh.
Facebook also operates in Saudi Arabia, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Australia and New Zealand.