To maintain ethnic equality even in the marketing world, Facebook has decided to stop using the ethnic-based filters for ad targeting. This ban on ethnic-based targeting is done for some ads only so that marketers could not misuse the tool. The ethnic based targeting feature was installed to help marketers to reach the right set of audience with relevant ads. But, some politicians and civil rights leaders questioned this feature of excluding a particular set of people based on their race.
The team of Facebook has decided to ban this feature on the ads related to housing, employment, and the extension of credit and some areas where certain groups of people have faced discrimination. According to Erin Egan, the Chief Privacy Officer of Facebook, the company has worked for years to built a platform where marketers have the flexibility to approach a diversified group of the audience through the platform, among various efforts, one was ‘Ethnic Affinity.’ But, as the situation is stringent for the company, Facebook is working to bring a tool, which will automatically identify a particular ad, which is related to the categories mentioned above and won’t allow a marketer to exclude any group based on their ethnicity.
“Recently, policymakers and civil rights leaders have expressed concerns that advertisers could misuse some aspects of our affinity marketing segments. Specifically, they’ve raised the possibility that some advertisers might use these segments to run ads that discriminate against people, particularly in areas where certain groups have historically faced discrimination — housing, employment and the extension of credit,” Egan wrote. “We take these issues seriously. Discriminatory advertising has no place on Facebook.”
In addition, Facebook will also educate advertisers to provide clarity on how not to run discriminatory ad campaigns, which can offend a particular set of people. It has been identified that many times, they have found running ad campaigns which are not appropriate for a particular group of individuals and some, they are just a source of entertainment. Considering the overall cases of such discrimination done by advertisers through Facebook, there are speculations that Facebook could be guilty of violating anti-discrimination laws. There is an option where firms can leave out a particular set of people in the ‘Detailed Targeting’ form, and this has led to many inappropriate acts of discrimination.
But, Facebook has argued by the fact that this feature is only to target the right set of audience and not to create discrimination in the community and with the new set of feature, this will not happen in ads, which are for all.