After Facebook was criticized for having different advertisements for housing and employment that were excluding people of ethnicities visible on their site, Facebook announced in November that they would be making changes to fix this. We are finally beginning to see the new changes rolling out now. Facebook has updated rules for advertisers stating that ads should not be discriminatory. They’ve also added some new tools to prevent discriminatory ads from going out on their website.
The first part of Facebook’s update actually changes the advertising policies for the website to make it clear to advertisers that this kind of advertising practice will not be allowed. They have added a section which not only outlines the new anti-discriminatory policy, but also provides advertisers with a range of resources from government agencies and civil rights groups to help further educate advertisers on the subject. As advertisements for housing, employment, and credit opportunities that exclude groups on the basis of ethnicity are in violation of federal anti-discriminatory laws, these are the ones that Facebook is currently targeting the most.
In addition to the changes to advertising policies, Facebook has implemented some new tools that will flag advertisements that might be in violation of the policy. These tools evaluate the ad to see if it is about employment, housing, or credit opportunities and prevent the ad from appearing on Facebook if it is found to be an ad like this that is using multicultural affinity targeting as well. The information about the violation is then sent to the advertiser.
While these new tools target specific ads and keep them from showing up on Facebook if they are in violation, advertisers still have ways to appeal these decisions. Since these tools might not identify the subject of the ad properly, advertisers will be able to request a manual review if they feel that their ad is being wrongfully blocked. Facebook’s new policies and tools are just the start to preventing discrimination in advertising on their website.