Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Facebook Says That It Will Stop Allowing Discrimination by Age, Race, Gender, and Location in Some Ads

Jack Gillum and Ariana Tobin, ProPublica:

Facebook advertisers can no longer target users by age, gender and ZIP code for housing, employment and credit offers, the company announced Tuesday as part of a major settlement with civil rights organizations.

The wide-ranging agreement follows reporting by ProPublica since 2016 that found Facebook let advertisers exclude users by race and other categories that are protected by federal law. It is illegal for housing, job and credit advertisers to discriminate against protected groups.

ProPublica had been able to buy housing-related ads on Facebook that excluded groups such as African Americans and Jews, and it previously found job ads excluding users by age and gender placed by companies that are household names, like Uber and Verizon Wireless.

[…]

The changes apply to advertisers who offer housing, employment and credit offers to U.S.-based users of Facebook, Instagram and Messenger. Facebook said it hopes to implement the requirements by the end of the year.

I might be overlooking something painfully obvious, but it’s pretty wild that Facebook’s settlement allows them to keep going with this illegal and immoral practice until the end of the year. Why not require them to start immediately by eliminating obviously-discriminatory terms from ad targeting options and give them until the end of this month to sort it out? It seems very generous to give them over eight months to “hopefully” be compliant with the law for something they’ve known about for nearly three years.