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Facebook is going to stop letting advertisers target by race, gender, or age

March 20, 2019

The firm spent $5 million yesterday settling three cases that claimed Facebook’s practices allowed employers to illegally exclude women from being served ads for jobs.

What it means: Facebook says it will make a few changes to its advertising platform by the end of the year. Anyone who wants to run housing, employment, or credit advertisements will not be able to target by location, age, gender, or race, it said. Advertisers will have to self-certify that their ads comply with anti-discrimination laws. Facebook says it will create an automated system to catch ads that are incorrectly self-certified. The rules will also cover Instagram, which Facebook owns.

Advertiser response: Compliance might be a minor irritation for some advertisers, but given Facebook’s sheer size, where else are they going to go?

Years of pressure: Facebook has been criticized about this for ages, and it’s only legal action that’s made it change course. Critics will scrutinize the company to see whether any discriminatory adverts still slip through the net.

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