Facebook making massive changes to ad platform after being accused of enabling housing discrimination
Facebook is making significant changes to its advertising platform after the social media monolith was accused of enabling discrimination in housing, employment, and lending.
The changes come after years of scrutiny into Facebook’s ad practices, which appeared to allow advertisers to purposefully exclude certain people from seeing housing, employment, or lending ads.
Last year, the Department of Housing and Urban Development filed a complaint against Facebook, claiming that the social media giant’s advertising platform enabled property owners to discriminate against prospective renters and buyers based on their race, color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin, disability, or other factors.
HUD’s investigation began in response to a ProPublica article in October 2016, which said Facebook gave advertisers the ability to exclude certain ethnic groups from seeing the ads.
Fair housing groups later filed a lawsuit against Facebook in March 2018, saying its ads still discriminate against protected groups under the Fair Housing Act, including women, veterans with disabilities and single mothers.
After HUD filed its complaint against Facebook, the site announced that it was removing more than 5,000 ad target options to “help prevent misuse.” The site claimed that the removed options include “limiting the ability for advertisers to exclude audiences that relate to attributes such as ethnicity or religion.”
But Facebook announced Tuesday that it is undertaking a massive overhaul of its advertising platform that goes well beyond any of the previously announced changes.
According to Facebook, it will no longer allow anyone or any company to target housing, employment, or credit ads by age, gender or zip code.