Yesterday, the team at Facebook announced changes in how the platform manages ads related to housing, employment, and credit on the platform.
According to the team at Facebook, “These changes are the result of historic settlement agreements with leading civil rights organizations and ongoing input from civil rights experts.”
This announcement comes when the report related to the investigation on Facebook by The New York Times got published. The announcement reads, “One of our top priorities is protecting people from discrimination on Facebook.”
Doing More to Protect Against Discrimination in Housing, Employment and Credit Advertising https://t.co/iMjBkyXUAw
— Facebook Newsroom (@fbnewsroom) March 19, 2019
One of the US’ top housing civil rights organizations, the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA), the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Communication Workers of America (CWA) and other private parties, had filed litigation against Facebook. These parties wanted to have stronger action towards protection against abuse.
According to Facebook’s blog post, civil rights leaders and experts who oversee the Facebook civil rights audit have also raised their concerns regarding this issue. Facebook has taken the concerns of civil rights leaders and have started working towards reviewing their ad tool.
Facebook’s blog post reads, “We take their concerns seriously and, as part of our civil rights audit, engaged the noted civil rights law firm Relman, Dane & Colfax to review our ads tools and help us understand what more we could do to guard against misuse.”
Though Facebook’s policies prohibit advertisers from using their tools to discriminate, the platform has removed targeting ads related to protected classes such as race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and religion.
NEWS: Facebook, bowing to years of pressure, announced today that anyone placing ads for jobs, housing or credit can no longer explicitly target users on the basis of age and gender or interest groups associated with race. https://t.co/lUOljEA3wu
— Noam Scheiber (@noamscheiber) March 19, 2019
As there is a history of discrimination in the areas of housing, employment, and credit but according to Facebook, this harmful behavior should not happen through their ads.
Facebook has announced certain changes as part of their settlements with the NFHA, ACLU, CWA and other groups to protect people on Facebook.
Changes announced by Facebook
The ones who want to run housing, employment or credit ads now won’t be allowed to target by age, gender or zip code. The advertisers who are offering housing, employment and credit opportunities will now have a smaller set of targeted categories for using in their campaigns. Multicultural affinity targeting won’t be available for these ads. Any detailed targeting option that describes or appears to be related to protected classes won’t available.
Facebook is working on a tool which will help users to search and view all current housing ads in the US that are targeted to different places across the country.
Facebook’s blog post reads, “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.”
To know more about this news, check out Facebook’s blog post.