March 30, 2017

Facebook Stops Letting Certain Advertisers Target by Race

Facebook announced today that it no longer will allow advertisers marketing products and services related to housing, credit or employment to target their ads based on race.

Erin Egan, VP, US Public Policy and Chief Privacy Officer explained:

Recently, policymakers and civil rights leaders have expressed concerns that advertisers could misuse some aspects of our affinity marketing segments. Specifically, they’ve raised the possibility that some advertisers might use these segments to run ads that discriminate against people, particularly in areas where certain groups have historically faced discrimination — housing, employment and the extension of credit.

We take these issues seriously. Discriminatory advertising has no place on Facebook.

Facebook is making changes as follows:

Going forward, we have decided to make the following changes to our advertising products. We will:

  • Build tools to detect and automatically disable the use of ethnic affinity marketing for certain types of ads: We will disable the use of ethnic affinity marketing for ads that we identify as offering housing, employment, or credit. There are many non-discriminatory uses of our ethnic affinity solution in these areas, but we have decided that we can best guard against discrimination by suspending these types of ads. We will continue to explore ways that our ethnic affinity solution can be used to promote inclusion of underrepresented communities, and we will continue to work with stakeholders toward that goal.
  • Offer more clarification and education: We will update our Advertising Policies to be even more explicit and require advertisers to affirm that they will not engage in discriminatory advertising on Facebook, and we will offer new educational materials to help advertisers understand their obligations with respect to housing, employment and credit.

Read the full announcement at Facebook.