Facebook stops advertisers illegally discriminating by race

Civil and Human Rights Coalition 'Likes' Facebook for Finalizing Prohibition of Ethnic Affinity Advertisements on

Facebook will try fighting ad discrimination with algorithms

After re-structuring, Facebook has enabled a set of discrimination rules before an advertisers attempts to buy an ad in any of those categories. Where this became a pressing issue is when last fall there were ad campaigns that included or excluded certain users based on their ethnic affinity.

"Over the past several months, we've met with policymakers and civil rights leaders to gather feedback about ways to improve our enforcement while preserving the beneficial uses of our advertising tools", said Facebook's newsroom.

Along with the new documentation against targeted discrimination, Facebook announced that it would be using machine learning technology to help identify ads that offer housing, employment, and credit opportunities, which some advertisers were attempting to exclude users who were interested in African-American, Asian-American, and US Hispanic content on the site. The company plans to use new technology to identify the biggest offenders.

The social media company was scrutinized for its advertising policy first in October 2016, when ProPublica discovered companies could ask Facebook to not show their ads to select "ethnic affinities".

Civil and Human Rights Coalition 'Likes' Facebook for Finalizing Prohibition of Ethnic Affinity Advertisements on
Facebook stops advertisers illegally discriminating by race

According to Facebook, the new ad policies "make it clear that advertisers may not discriminate against people based on personal attributes such as race, ethnicity, color, national origin, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, family status, disability, medical or genetic condition".

An additional section in the updated policy document will provide Facebook advertisers resources and information to educate them regarding anti-discrimination policies which have been drafted by experts in civil rights laws and government agencies. "We're glad to see Facebook implementing strong policies so that advertisers of housing, credit, and employment don't use Facebook's ad targeting to exclude certain users", said Rachel Goodman, attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union's Racial Justice Program, in a statement. Furthermore, adverts featuring these opportunities will require self-certification to they comply with the updated policies and anti-discrimination laws.

Readers: What are your thoughts on Facebook's efforts thus far to stamp out discriminatory advertising? "We believe in the power of our advertising products to create opportunities for people from all backgrounds, so we are committed to working with these groups toward that goal".

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