Facebook removes age, gender and ZIP code targeting for housing, employment, credit ads

Facebook advertisers promoting housing, employment or credit offers will no longer be able to target ads by age, gender or ZIP code. The new ad policy applies to advertisers targeting U.S. users on Facebook, Instagram and Messenger.

The company said Tuesday that it will also launch a tool for users to search and view all current housing ads running on its platforms in the U.S., regardless of who the ads are targeted to.

Why you should care

Any advertiser running campaigns promoting housing, employment or credit offers will now have limited ad targeting measures. The move is part of a settlement Facebook has reached with the ACLU, NFHA and CWA which accused the platform of allowing discriminatory practices within their ad targeting options.

“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,” wrote Facebook Sheryl Sandberg in the announcement.

Facebook said multicultural affinity targeting will continue to be unavailable for housing, employment and credit ads, along with any detailed targeting options that describe or appear to relate to protected classes.

More on the news

  • In 2016, ProPublica reported that Facebook advertisers were able to use the platform’s ad-targeting options to discriminate against protected groups.
  • Facebook’s VP of ads Rob Goldman rebuked ProPublica’s later claims that Facebook’s ad targeting options for employment ads were discriminatory.
  • Facebook said Tuesday that it will work with civil rights groups, experts and policy makers to prevent discrimination and promote fairness on its platforms.

About The Author

Amy Gesenhues is Third Door Media’s General Assignment Reporter, covering the latest news and updates for Marketing Land and Search Engine Land. From 2009 to 2012, she was an award-winning syndicated columnist for a number of daily newspapers from New York to Texas. With more than ten years of marketing management experience, she has contributed to a variety of traditional and online publications, including MarketingProfs.com, SoftwareCEO.com, and Sales and Marketing Management Magazine. Read more of Amy’s articles.

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