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Thursday, 30 November 2017

Facebook has disables feature that let companies hide adverts from ethnic minorities


In a recent report show that the social media giant "Facebook" has now paused their advertising system that allows brands to pick which ethnic and racial groups they can target after it emerged it could be used to discriminate for housing, credit and job vacancies.

This practice has been condemned by the social network, as far back 2016 when it was exposed. However, a recent investigation suggests that the company has not managed to stop it from happening a year on.

Investigative journalists at ProPublica in a report said that they were able to buy discriminatory housing adverts using a fake apartment rental company.

In their report, They requested that a dozen adverts should not be shown to African Americans, mothers of high school children, people interested in wheelchair ramps, Jewish people, expats from Argentina and Spanish speakers.


Just months prior to this, Facebook said it had stopped the problem and put a safety net in place to block targeting in this manner

Facebook "Until we can better ensure that our tools will not be used inappropriately, we are disabling the option that permits advertisers to exclude multicultural affinity segments from the audience for their ads," wrote Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook's chief operating officer in a letter to the Congressional Black Caucus, after they met her to discuss racist advertising concerns.

"In addition, all advertisers will have to complete the certification described above when they choose to include any of the multicultural affinity segments," she added.

Sandberg defended race selection among advertising, claiming it was commonly used across the industry and a helpful way to to "reach people with content that reflects the community with which they identify or products that are highly purchased by a specific community".

It will be useful when targeting communities for specific healthcare need, she added.
It's the latest blow for Facebook's targeted advertising business, which suffered a blow when it emerged it had taken at least $100,0000 (£76,000) for adverts from the Russian Internet Research Agency.

The agency turned out to be nothing more than a Russian state-led meme and troll factory designed to influence political goings on in the western world, including the US presidential election.
At least 3,000 adverts focusing on divisive subjects like race and gun rights were released during Trump's campaign, Facebook admitted.

MPs in the UK have recently demanded the social network hand over details on how much was spent targeting Britons in recent votes.
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