Facebook removes more than 5000 ad targeting options to rise above discrimination

Facebook ad targeting

Facebook ad targeting update – advertisers would no longer be able to exclude people who have conflicting interests from their brand. Hiding ads from audiences based on religious or other prejudices would no longer be possible.

This is an action effort to prevent discriminatory advertising. Planned to remove by this fall, these 5000 options were apparently used by advertisers to identify and exclude ethnic and religious groups. For example, earlier a landlord that didn’t want Islamic people in his property due to prejudices could hide his ad from the Islamic group.

Also Read: Facebook is looking for trustworthy users

The interesting thing is, Facebook’s removal of these options comes amid an investigation from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development which has alleged that it has enabled discriminatory housing practices with its ad targeting options.

Although Facebook claims that this move was being planned for a while and is not a consequence of the investigation, people still wonder.

Here’s the blog post by the social media network regarding this:

Keeping Advertising Safe & Civil

Earlier this year, we shared ways we’re working to prevent misuse of our ad platform. Today we’re providing some updates to our ad targeting tools and education that align with our advertising principles.

Removing some targeting options
We’re committed to protecting people from discriminatory advertising on our platforms. That’s why we’re removing over 5,000 targeting options to help prevent misuse. While these options have been used in legitimate ways to reach people interested in a certain product or service, we think minimizing the risk of abuse is more important. This includes limiting the ability for advertisers to exclude audiences that relate to attributes such as ethnicity or religion.

Expanding advertiser education
We want to help educate advertisers about their obligations under our policies. For over a year, we have required advertisers we identify offering housing, employment or credit ads to certify compliance with our non-discrimination policy. In the coming weeks, this new certification will roll out gradually to all US advertisers via our Ads Manager tool. Advertisers will be required to complete this certification in order to continue advertising on Facebook. We’ve designed this education in consultation with outside experts to underscore the difference between acceptable ad targeting and ad discrimination.

We’ll expand this to advertisers using our other tools and APIs, and those in additional countries, over time.