How Facebook Is Stepping Up Its Efforts to Thwart Discriminatory Advertising

Although Facebook goes to great lengths to emphasise that the feature, which is still available for advertisers, is not the same as racial profiling, a second wave of negative publicity arrived in October 2016, when ProPublica reported that the affinity targeting could be used to exclude particular groups from advertising for home sales. Additionally, it is testing an automated system that uses machine learning technology to identify potentially controversial ads.

Facebook is employing an AI tool aimed at restricting discriminatory ads on its social networking platform. In addition, it has introduced an education section for advertisers - to provide additional information about the policy update, as well as "educational resources from government agencies and civil rights groups that specialise in combating discrimination".

Facebook has announced that it has taken significant steps towards prohibiting discriminatory advertising in its site.

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These stronger enforcement tools are in addition to Facebook's recently updated policies, which are now more restrictive.

"Over the past several months, we've met with policymakers and civil rights leaders to gather feedback about ways to improve our enforcement while preserving the beneficial uses of our advertising tools", Facebook wrote in a blog post. Last fall, Facebook said that it would.

The new technology coincides with recent updates to Facebook's advertising policies that it claims will make "make our existing prohibition against discrimination even stronger", Facebook said in a statement.

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Facebook has revamped its advertising policies to fight discrimination based on a number of personal characteristics, including ethnicity, age, race, or sexual orientation. Many support the company's new policies.

Disapproving ads offering housing, employment or credit opportunities that use our multicultural affinity segments: When an advertiser attempts to show an ad that we identify as offering a housing, employment or credit opportunity and either includes or excludes our multicultural advertising segments-which consist of people interested in seeing content related to the African-American, Asian-American and U.S. Hispanic communities-we will disapprove the ad.

It is unclear how many advertisers actually broke the rules in this regard but Facebook insists such racism will not be possible in future, including ads which explicitly bar specific demographics from applying in their terms and conditions.

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