Facebook moves to eliminate discriminatory ads
In further news from the world of digital advertising, social media giant Facebook has settled a string of lawsuits by promising to make major changes to its advertising platform. The lawsuits allege that Facebook’s advertising service lets companies discriminate against users based on racial profiling. In particular, certain housing, credit, and employment advert-audiences have chosen (and been able to) restrict visibility towards people of colour.
This has been an on-going problem for Facebook, which prides itself on precisely targeted ads: how do you regulate the service so that, for example, a new hair product for black women can get shown specifically to black women (thereby not wasting the buyer’s money on exposure that won’t translate into sales); but a housing ad from a white nationalist can’t exclude black people altogether? Facebook thinks it has the answer, and it’s promising to tackle the problem once and for all.
Facebook’s share price has appreciated by 23% so far year to date
Source: Yahoo Finance
Cheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer said “getting this right is deeply important to me and all of us at Facebook,” in a blog post that will be published tomorrow. In it, she goes on to add that this settlement is “historic” and thanks two of the groups that originally sued the platform (the National Fair Housing Alliance and the American Civil Liberties Union), saying “today’s changes mark an important step in our broader effort to prevent discrimination and promote fairness and inclusion on Facebook.”
Here’s how it will work: ads that are placed for the housing, employment or credit industries will no longer be allowed to target users based on age, gender, or zip codes (the last of which allows users to profile racially, given the geographical distribution of races around the US). Facebook also won’t include these categories when it creates a “lookalike” audience (based on a company’s profile on the platform – i.e.: people that “like” or interact with its page).
ACLU senior staff attorney, Galen Sherwin, describes the settlement: “it’s a huge deal. It will cause Facebook to make sweeping changes to its platform.”
Dominion holds Facebook in its Global Trends Ecommerce Fund.
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