Facebook Settles Racial Discrimination Lawsuits
Facebook announced on Tuesday that it would overhaul its ad-targeting systems to prevent discrimination in housing, credit, and job ads as part of a legal settlement. Civil rights leaders and experts -- including members of the Congressional Black, Hispanic, and Asian Pacific American Caucuses -- had pressed the social media giant to change an advertising feature that allows advertisers to exclude certain racial groups. Last year, the National Fair Housing Alliance, ACLU, and others filed litigation against Facebook over the issue. The company is now saying it will no longer allow housing, work, or credit ads to target people by age, gender, or ZIP code and would introduce a range of other targeting limitations. It will also pay approximately $5 million to cover plaintiffs' legal fees and other costs. “Our job is to make sure [advertiser] benefits continue while also making sure that our ads tools aren’t misused. 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,” Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said in a statement. “Today’s changes mark an important step in our broader effort to prevent discrimination and promote fairness and inclusion on Facebook. But our work is far from over. We’re committed to doing more, and we look forward to engaging in serious consultation and work with key civil rights groups, experts and policymakers to help us find the right path forward.” However, Facebook still faces an administrative complaint filed by HUD in August over the housing ads issue. More here.