As part of its effort to stamp out discriminatory advertising, Facebook has announced it’s removing certain targeting options for housing, employment and credit ads.
Back in 2017, Facebook announced updates to its ads policies, promising to do more about stamping out discriminatory advertising, explaining how it “can wrongfully deprive people of opportunities and experiences, particularly in the areas of housing, employment and credit, where certain groups historically have faced discrimination.”
After meeting with civil rights leader and policymakers, Facebook also showed commitment to providing better education to advertisers about the prohibition of discrimination, and to strengthening procedures to enforce this prohibition.
Now, after being forced to rethink its granular targeting options and how they can be used for discriminatory and illegal practices, Facebook COO Cheryl Sandberg has announced several changes to the social network’s ad targeting options for housing, employment and credit ads.
- Targeting by age, gender, or zip code will now be removed from housing, employment, or credit ads.
- In addition to multicultural affinity targeting which will continue to be unavailable to those types of ads, “any detailed targeting option describing or appearing to relate to protected classes will also be unavailable.”
- Facebook is also building a tool so that people can search for and “view all current housing ads in the US targeted to different places across the country, regardless of whether the ads are shown to [them].”
The changes were announced after the settlement of litigation brought against Facebook by the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA), the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Communication Workers of America (CWA) and other private parties.
As Sandberg explained,
“Housing, employment and credit ads are crucial to helping people buy new homes, start great careers, and gain access to credit. They should never be used to exclude or harm people. Getting this right is deeply important to me and all of us at Facebook because inclusivity is a core value for our company.”