Tags: propublica | facebook | users | buy | discriminatory ads

ProPublica: Facebook Allows Users to Buy Discriminatory Ads

ProPublica: Facebook Allows Users to Buy Discriminatory Ads
(Getty Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 21 November 2017 04:43 PM

A new report claims Facebook still allows the purchase of discriminatory housing ads despite prior promises from the company that it would block the practice.

ProPublica reported Tuesday that it was able to purchase dozens of Facebook ads that excluded certain groups from viewing them, including African Americans, Spanish speakers, and Jewish people.

The federal Fair Housing Act makes it illegal for the housing industry to discriminate "with respect to the sale or rental of a dwelling that indicates any preference, limitation, or discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin."

ProPublica said every ad except one took no more than three minutes to be approved. An ad it claimed was set up to discriminate against potential renters "interested in Islam, Sunni Islam, and Shia Islam" was approved after 22 minutes.

Last fall, ProPublica ran a similar story after the outlet was able to purchase a housing ad on Facebook that discriminated against certain ethnic groups. The social media giant said after the article was published it would improve its system that vets potential ads before they are published.

In a lengthy statement sent to Newsmax, Facebook's vice president of product management Ami Vora, said the most recent ad buy should have never happened because of tighter controls that have been implemented.

"This was a failure in our enforcement and we're disappointed that we fell short of our commitments," Vora said. "Earlier this year, we added additional safeguards to protect against the abuse of our multicultural affinity tools to facilitate discrimination in housing, credit, and employment. The rental housing ads purchased by ProPublica should have but did not trigger the extra review and certifications we put in place due to a technical failure.

"Our safeguards, including additional human reviewers and machine learning systems, have successfully flagged millions of ads and their effectiveness has improved over time. Tens of thousands of advertisers have confirmed compliance with our tighter restrictions, including that they follow all applicable laws. We don't want Facebook to be used for discrimination and will continue to strengthen our policies, hire more ad reviewers, and refine machine learning tools to help detect violations. Our systems continue to improve but we can do better.

"While we currently require compliance notifications of advertisers that seek to place ads for housing, employment, and credit opportunities, we will extend this requirement to ALL advertisers who choose to exclude some users from seeing their ads on Facebook to also confirm their compliance with our anti-discrimination policies — and the law."

Facebook ads have been the source of much controversy this year after it was determined that several ads were purchased by Russian groups during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign as part of a larger disinformation effort by America's Cold War foe.

© 2018 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

   
1Like our page
2Share
Newsfront
A new report claims Facebook still allows the purchase of discriminatory housing ads despite prior promises from the company that it would block the practice.
propublica, facebook, users, buy, discriminatory ads
461
2017-43-21
Tuesday, 21 November 2017 04:43 PM
Newsmax Media, Inc.
 

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved