USA: Facebook to stop allowing discrimination in ads as part of a settlement with civil rights groups & individuals

Author: Jack Gillum & Ariana Tobin, ProPublica, Published on: 21 March 2019

"Facebook Won't Let Employers, Landlords or Lenders Discriminate in Ads Anymore," 19 March 2019

Facebook advertisers can no longer target users by age, gender and ZIP code for housing, employment and credit offers, the company announced Tuesday as part of a major settlement with civil rights organizations..."This settlement is a shot across the bow to all tech companies and platforms," said Peter Romer-Friedman... [who] represented the plaintiffs along with the ACLU. "They need to understand that civil rights apply to the internet, and it's not a civil rights-free zone."... The changes apply to advertisers who offer housing, employment and credit offers to U.S.-based users of Facebook, Instagram and Messenger... The agreement also will create a separate online portal for housing, credit and employment offers. Those advertisers will not be able to target users in a geographic area smaller than a 15-mile radius, which advocates say tamps down on "digital" neighborhood redlining... “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 Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg wrote in a statement... The changes are part of Facebook’s settlement in five discrimination lawsuits...The settlement includes a payout of about $5 million to plaintiffs, mostly to defray legal costs... Facebook said Tuesday it had “not seen the kind of explicit discriminatory behavior that civil rights groups are concerned about.”

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