Targeting Options That Allow Discrimination To Be Deleted By Facebook

With the aim of preventing any misuse of the social media platform Facebook for triggering discrimination related controversies, the social media company has decided to remove over 5000 categories in its ad section, the company said.

These options can be put to use by unscrupulous elements to exclude certain religions and ethnic and minority communities from the advertising activities, Facebook said that this has pushed the US tech giant to take the measure of updating its ad targeting tools by removal of those options.

It was just a few days ago that Facebook had been accused of violating the Fair Housing Act by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) by allowing some ads to run on the platform that discriminate against some protected group. And many see this measure as a reaction to those criticisms.

There were some ads running on Facebook from some houseowners, landlords and home sellers that very openly seek to keep away individuals of a certain race, religion, sex, national origin and various other categories, and the social media company was aiding such advertisement, alleged the HUD in a complaint that was filed last Friday.

The social media platform said that it intends to coach and educate its users and advertisers about the obligations that they have and that they need to adhere to the non-discrimination policy of Facebook so that there is no misuse of its ad platform.

“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,” Facebook said.

“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,” it added.

In the next week weeks, the new certification would be gradually rolled out for the U.S. advertisers of Facebook, said the U.S. tech giant. The company added that the measures will limit the ability of the advertisers on Facebook to “exclude audiences that relate to attributes such as ethnicity or religion.”

Earlier in April, advertisers on Facebook were denied the previously allowed capability of being able to use targeting tools that help to exclude people from their ads based on users’ race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and religion. Such targeting tools were removed permanently.

An agreement was also signed between Facebook and the Washington state in July which was aimed as banning discriminatory advertisements on its platform which does not allow certain groups from viewing ads of housing, credit, employment, insurance and public accommodations.

(Adapted from


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