Facebook has apologised after it approved an ad campaign targeted at people interested in a conspiracy theory favoured by white nationalists.

News site the Intercept was able to launch a promotion aimed at 168,000 users interested in “white genocide.”

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Prosecutors believe the conspiracy theory, which claims “outside forces” want to exterminate the white race, may have motivated the man who attacked a Pittsburgh synagogue last week.

A senior UK MP has criticised Facebook for approving the ad campaign.

In a tweet, Damian Collins, the chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, called Facebook’s approval of the ad campaign “appalling and irresponsible”.