After weeks of push back from U.S. lawmakers, media and civil rights leaders, Facebook FB -1.44% on Friday announced it will stop allowing advertisers to use “ethnic affinity” to target the reach of employment, housing and credit-related ads with the aim of better preventing discrimination on the social network.
Facebook’s policies ban discriminatory advertising content or “ad creative.” However, before Friday, Facebook allowed advertisers to use “ethnic affinity,” among a host of other signals such as gender, age, favorite movies, food preferences and geography, to determine the reach of any type of ad, including ads related to housing, employment and credit services.
“Recently, policymakers and civil rights leaders have expressed concerns that advertisers could misuse some aspects of our affinity marketing segments,” Erin Egan, Facebook’s vice president of U.S. public policy and chief privacy officer, said in a blog post. “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.”
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