How is Facebook Handling Fair Housing Act Concerns?

March 16, 2017 | by:

Last Fall, we covered how Facebook’s ethnic affinity feature had drawn criticism from civil rights groups who feared it could be used as a tool for discrimination. The news was particularly important for Multifamily marketers, as Fair Housing laws were a primary source of concern. Recently, Facebook took several actions to prevent its advertising platform from violating FHA laws.

Here’s a quick look at what the company has changed:

Updated Policies – The social network updated its policies to strengthen its commitment to fighting discrimination in ads. The new policies make it clear that Facebook will not allow ads that discriminate against individuals on the basis of gender, race, ethnicity, religion, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, or medical conditions.

Advertiser Education – Facebook has done a lot to better educate advertisers on what constitutes discrimination in advertising. The company has dedicated a new page to information that describes its policies. The same page also includes links to several government resources on anti-discrimination laws.

New Tools – To further enforce its commitment to these anti-discrimination policies, Facebook is testing machine-learning technology that can recognize discrimination in ads. This technology is specifically pertinent to Multifamily marketers, and is already being used to stop housing ads from discriminating against users based on a multicultural affinity.

What’s Next?

Whether or not Facebook’s machine-learning technology will one day recognize discrimination in age, gender or other affinities remains to be seen. We’ll continue to share updates as the story progresses.