Facebook Removes Targeting Options From Certain Ads to Fight Discrimination

Facebook is taking steps to stop discriminatory advertising practices by removing targeting options that were used to exclude people.

Housing, employment, and credit ads can no longer be targeted by age, race, or gender.

As Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg explains in a blog post, these changes are the result of settlement agreements with civil rights organizations.

“There is a long history of discrimination in the areas of housing, employment and credit, and this harmful behavior should not happen through Facebook ads.

Last year, one of the US’s top housing civil rights organizations, the National Fair Housing Alliance, as well as the American Civil Liberties Union, the Communication Workers of America, and other private parties, filed litigation against us, saying that we need to build stronger protections against abuse.”

Here are the changes being implemented as part of Facebook’s settlements with the NFHA, ACLU, CWA, and other groups:

  • Housing, employment or credit ads can no longer be targeted by age, gender or zip code.
  • Advertisers offering housing, employment and credit opportunities will have a much smaller set of targeting categories to use in their campaigns overall.
  • Facebook has agreed to build a tool that will allow users to search for and view all current housing ads in the US, regardless of whether the ads were shown to them.

Sandberg concludes her announcement by saying housing, employment, and credit ads are meant to help people, not exclude them.

“Getting this right is deeply important to me and all of us at Facebook because inclusivity is a core value for our company.”

Expect to see further efforts from Facebook with regards to preventing discrimination and promoting inclusion.