Facebook to remove thousands of ad targeting options to prevent discrimination

Tyrone Stewart

Facebook appFacebook is removing more than 5,000 ad targeting options to prevent advertisers from being able to discriminate against people based on their race or religion.

The issue of discriminatory advertising on Facebook was first brought to light at the backend of 2016. This would force the social network to update its ad policies and enforcement tools in February 2017, making it clear that advertisers cannot discriminate based on race, ethnicity, colour, religion, sex, and disability. The latest move is aimed at fully supporting these policies.

“We’re committed to protecting people from discriminatory advertising on our platforms. That’s why we’re removing over 5,000 targeting options to help prevent misuse,” said Facebook in a blog post. “While these options have been used in legitimate ways to reach people interested in a certain product or service, we think minimising the risk of abuse is more important. This includes limiting the ability for advertisers to exclude audiences that relate to attributes such as ethnicity or religion.”

In addition to removing a whole host of ad targeting parameters, soon advertisers will be required to complete a certification, agreeing to the company’s non-discrimination policy, in order to continue advertising on Facebook.

Facebook’s latest efforts to remove discrimination from advertising comes while it is being investigated by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development for discriminatory housing ads being possible on its platform.