Facebook’s Next Steps to Prevent Discrimination in Housing, Employment and Credit Ads – Adweek


Facebook detailed changes to its Marketing API (application-programming interface) as part of its efforts to thwart discriminatory use of its targeting options for housing, employment and credit ads.

The American Civil Liberties Union teamed with Communications Workers of America and workers’ rights law firm Outten & Golden last September to file charges with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against Facebook and 10 companies that advertised jobs via its platform, claiming unlawful discrimination and saying the advertisers used the social network’s targeting capabilities to deliver their ads solely to male users.

In response, Facebook promised several changes in March

The social network said at the time that age, gender and ZIP code targeting would no longer be allowed on ads for housing, employment and credit; interest segments for ads in those categories were slashed from thousands to hundreds; and a new transparency tool was being built to provide information on all current housing ads being run in the U.S.

All of those measures did not stop the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development from officially charging Facebook with discrimination later that month.

Facebook detailed related changes for developers on its platform in a blog post Thursday.

The social network said advertisers, developers and partners must indicate when their ads promote housing, employment or credit by selecting a special ad category, which began rolling out in Ads Manager in July and will be available on the Marketing API Sept. 16.

The special ads category limits targeting options available for those ads.

All housing, employment or credit ads that have not implemented the special ad category flows by Dec. 4 may be paused for non-compliance.

The social network provided the following requirements for advertisers and developers using its Marketing API in the blog post:

  • Developers and advertisers that are located in the U.S. or targeting users in the U.S. and running ads with housing, employment and credit opportunities must specify their respective category.
  • Developers and advertisers that are located in the U.S. or targeting users in the U.S. and whose ads do not fall under one of the categories must specify none or the campaign creation requests will fail.
  • Developers and advertisers that are located outside the U.S. whose ads target users outside of the U.S., regardless of the category, should specify none, as well.

Finally, starting in 2020, advertisers and developers will have to modify ongoing campaigns that began prior to Dec. 4 in order to comply with the new requirements.



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