Facebook Is Allowing Advertisers to Discriminate Based on Race
A new ProPublica investigation1 uncovered a disturbing fact: Facebook allows advertisers to exclude Black, Hispanic and other so-called “ethnic affinity” groups from seeing ads.
Let us say it again: Facebook is allowing advertisers to discriminate based on race.
This is more than the normal yuckiness of targeted advertising. Facebook's system allowed ProPublica reporters to purchase a housing ad that excluded people of color in what prominent civil rights lawyers describe as a clear violation of the federal Fair Housing Act.
Facebook claims its review policies prohibit advertisers from using its tools to discriminate unfairly, but ProPublica's ad was approved in only 15 minutes. For a company that drives an enormous amount of internet traffic and reaps a huge percentage of online ad revenue, that's a big deal.2
According to a lawyer quoted in the ProPublica investigation, Facebook is allowing advertisers to violate civil rights laws with virtually no review or accountability.
Tell Mark Zuckerberg: Stop allowing Facebook advertisers to discriminate based on race.
1. “Facebook Lets Advertisers Exclude Users by Race,” ProPublica, Oct. 28, 2016: https://www.propublica.org/article/facebook-lets-advertisers-exclude-users-by-race
2. “Google and Facebook Lead Digital Ad Industry to Revenue Record,” Bloomberg Tech, April 21, 2016: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-04-22/google-and-facebook-lead-digital-ad-industry-to-revenue-record
Original image from Flickr user Joe the Goat Farmer