A class action was recently filed against Facebook in violation of the Fair Housing Act and Article VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Facebook had previously defended its ad-targeting option tool. They insisted that it is no discriminatory. However, the tech company announced that they will now stop advertisers from excluding targeted users by race.
Disabling The Ethnic Affinity Tool
Facebook explained that they are going to build tools to detect and automatically disable the use of Ethnic Affinity tool for certain type of ads. The lawsuit filed by Karen Savage of New York, Victor Onuoha and Suzanne-Juliette Mobley of Louisiana may have driven this action. Facebook specifically mentioned about marketing ads for housing, employment or credit.
The tech giant insisted that the tool has non-discriminatory uses. However, to prevent discrimination altogether, they decide to suspend ads in the above-mentioned areas. Furthermore, Facebook will also update their Advertising Policies. This is to make advertisers more aware of intolerance when it comes to discrimination.
They will also require advertisers to affirm non-engagement of discriminatory advertising on Facebook. Advertisers should be knowledgeable of their obligations with respect to housing, employment, and credit.
Facebook's New System
According to Pro Publica, Facebook's Privacy and Policy Manager Steve Satterfield said that the new system will be launched within the next few months. He added that the updated advertising policies will have stronger, more specific prohibitions against discriminatory ads.
This move will likely affect the company's ad-targeting capabilities. Facebook is up against the like of Google, Twitter, and Snapchat.
Facebook's Class Action Lawsuit
It seems that Facebook is complying with what the plaintiffs wanted to happen in the said ad-targeting option tool. The lawsuit seeks to only end the illegal proscribed uses of the tool. It was specified that Facebook is not asked to end its whole advertising platform or the "Ethnic Affinity" option.
The tech company's executives that include CEO Mark Zuckerberg are also under investigation in Germany for not doing enough against online hate speech.