Facebook to Stop Ethnicity-based Targeting for Some Ads

Shamsheer Kailey

Facebook came under scrutiny for its discriminatory network policies and algorithms that shape what appears on the user’s news feed. Questions have also been raised about Facebook’s role in the victory of Trump. Following such criticism, Facebook has decided to stop any ethnic or race based ads on its service by disabling use of the tool, called “ethnic affinities” which is used for ads that offer housing, employment etc.

Facebook allows advertisers to use data collected by the website to categorize it and target certain groups of population. However, the company will now disable ads offering housing, employment or credit based on ethnic affinity marketing and will update policies to require advertisers to not engage in discriminatory advertising.

A non-profit investigative news organization, ProPublica, brought to the forefront discriminatory practices Facebook engaged in. Following the revelation, a group of Facebook users have filed a lawsuit against the company claiming violation of Fair Housing Act and Civil Rights Act.


­­­­Dustin Volz, Facebook to stop ethnicity-based targeting for some ads, Reuters (Nov. 12, 2016), http://www.reuters.com/article/us-facebook-ethnicadvertising-idUSKBN1361QD