So… Facebook Is Letting Advertisers Be Pretty Racist
Categories: News

So… Facebook Is Letting Advertisers Be Pretty Racist

We’ve come a pretty long way as a society. Although we’re not perfect, we are WAY more tolerant than we were even 30 or 40 years ago. We’ve drawn attention to racial issues with the #BlackLivesMatter movement, legalized gay marriage and may possibly elect the country’s first female president in just a couple of weeks. But we aren’t quite where we need to be yet, starting with our tech.

According to a new report, Facebook lets advertisers choose to exclude certain racial groups from their ad’s audience. Reporters at ProPublica went onto Facebook’s advertising portal and created a fake listing meant for people who are house hunting. When they went to target the ad for their audience, they found they could exclude certain racial groups from seeing the ads.

So, this all seems illegal. It completely breaks everything set down in the Fair Housing Act of 1968. Basically, the act says that housing ads CANNOT target (or exclude) anyone based on “race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin.”

Facebook has said that their policies stand in accordance with the law and that whenever an advertiser abuses the ads, the company takes action. The company also said that “ethnic affinity” is different than race. The former is gathered based on what pages the user has liked; the latter is irrelevant to Facebook.

Hm, this all sounds very questionable to us. Your move, Facebook.

What do you think of Facebook’s targeting policy? Let us know @BritandCo!

(h/t ProPublica; photos via Getty)