Facebook announced this morning it’s making a change to how its ad targeting system works in order to tackle the misuse of its platform to discriminate and exclude audiences based on factors like ethnicity and religion. The company says it’s now removing over 5,000 ad targeting options that could have been misused to place discriminatory ads across its platform.
The news comes shortly after the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) filed a new complaint against Facebook that accuses it of helping landlords and home sellers violate the Fair Housing Act. It says that Facebook’s ad settings disregard the law by allowing advertisers to target certain demographics.
“When Facebook uses the vast amount of personal data it collects to help advertisers to discriminate, it’s the same as slamming the door in someone’s face,” Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, Anna María Farías had said in a statement issued by the department.