Facebook has announced it is taking greater measures to shut down advertising on its site that attempts to target users based on race alone.
Facebook is following up from a previous announcement to tackle racial discrimination from November after it was revealed that advertisers could use the Facebook targeting system of likes, location, and language settings of users to practically exclude different ethnic groups from seeing their advertising. Companies that advertised rental or sale of accommodation using these practices were in fact in violation of housing law.
According to The Verge, the new ad policies “make it clear that advertisers may not discriminate against people based on personal attributes such as race, ethnicity, color, national origin, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, family status, disability, medical or genetic condition.” Moreover, Facebook will attempt to educate advertisers on anti-discrimination practices in order to stop such campaigns from happening again.
Facebook will enforce these new rules with machine learning to identify adverts that offer housing, employment, or credit opportunities and then check whether they do not engage with individuals who are interested and interact with content targeted to ethnic groups. These adverts will then be disapproved but can be appealed against and verified by a human operator. Companies will also be asked to confirm that their adverts do not violate the policy.