The Los Angeles Police Department said it would open an inquiry into how a recruitment ad for its department had appeared on the website for Breitbart, saying that it created “a negative juxtaposition to our core values.”

A screenshot of the ad circulated on Twitter. It showed a female police officer in uniform and read, “Choose your future. LAPD is hiring!”

The placement sparked complaints that the department was advertising on Breitbart News Network, better known just as Breitbart, a right-wing opinion and news website.

“The LAPD celebrates diversity and embraces it within our ranks, and within the city we serve,” the department said on Twitter on Saturday. “We are aware that a recruitment advertisement has been circulated on a website that creates a negative juxtaposition to our core values.”

The department added that it had started “an initial inquiry into the matter and to determine its validity, as well as what future steps can and will be taken to avoid this situation occurring in the future.”

The city’s Personnel Department said on Twitter that it had not bought any police recruitment ads on Breitbart “or similar sites.”

“Recruitment ads were purchased through Google and ended up on sites that do not reflect the City’s values through automatic placement,” the Personnel Department said on Twitter. “We have stopped these Google Ads altogether while we re-examine our ad filters and take all necessary steps to ensure tighter control of ad settings.”

Breitbart did not respond to messages on Sunday, but a spokeswoman told The Los Angeles Times that Breitbart was “one of the most pro-police, pro-law-enforcement news organizations in America.”

The spokeswoman, Elizabeth Moore, said the outlet had “a history of promoting women and minorities into leadership positions.”

The appearance of the ad on Breitbart could be just the work of an algorithm. Many websites use third-party ad placement services, Bert Huang, an assistant professor of computer science at Virginia Tech, said on Sunday.

“They pay for multiple ad placement companies to manage their ads and essentially say, ‘Here is the content on our website,’” Professor Huang said.

The third-party company then tries to match up the content with the ad as best it can. The problem is that algorithms are imperfect, he said.

“It might just be that Breitbart had some keywords on their home page that matched what the L.A.P.D. has requested their ad to appear in,” Professor Huang said. “In that scenario, through no direct intent from the L.A.P.D., it could have been inevitably matched.”

Alex Krasov, a Google spokeswoman, said on Sunday that advertisers have the option “to exclude specific websites or entire topics from their campaigns.”

“Google has policies for where ads in the network can appear and it gives advertisers additional controls over where their ads show,” she said.

Professor Huang described algorithms as “both really impressive and smart, but also erratic because they are not time-tested.”

“These are new approaches,” he said. “They sound scarily smart, but they are dumb.”

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