Facebook and ACLU Settle Over Biased Advertising


Facebook said Tuesday it has reached settlement with U.S. civil rights organizations including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) over discriminatory advertising practices.

The world’s largest social network agreed to make changes to its paid advertising platform to prevent discrimination in housing, employment and credit ads. “There is a long history of discrimination in the areas of housing, employment and credit, and this harmful behavior should not happen through Facebook ads,” said Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer at Facebook.

The Menlo Park, California-based company, said it will no longer allow housing, employment or credit advertisers to discriminate users based on their race, sex, age or zip code after it struck the settlement with the ACLU, the civil rights law firm Outten & Golden LLP, the Communications Workers of America, and the National Fair Housing Alliance.

The rights advocacy groups filed a lawsuit last year against Facebook for unlawfully discriminating against certain populations via their ad targeting tools.The ACLU said in a statement that Facebook will stop considering users’ age, gender, or membership in Facebook “groups” when creating “Lookalike” Audiences for advertisers.

Last year, Facebook removed more than 5,000 ads targeting options that could have been abused to place discriminatory ads across its platform.

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