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Friday, September 15, 2017
Facebook Limits Ad Targeting Features Based on Religion, Education


Facebook said on Thursday it was temporarily disabling the ability of advertisers to target based on people's self-reported education and job information.

ProPublica, a non-profit news organization based in New York, reported hours earlier that Facebook's self-service ad-buying platform had allowed marketers to target ads at people who, on their Facebook profile, had listed phrases such as "Jew hater" as their field of study or work.

"Hate speech and discriminatory advertising have no place on our platform. Our community standards strictly prohibit attacking people based on their protected characteristics, including religion, and we prohibit advertisers from discriminating against people based on religion and other attributes," Facebook said.

"As people fill in their education or employer on their profile, we have found a small percentage of people who have entered offensive responses, in violation of our policies," Facebook added.

Facebook initially responded to the ProPublica report by removing the topics in question from its ad system. Then discovered that hateful topics were more widespread in the ad system's targeting capabilities.

".. to help ensure that targeting is not used for discriminatory purposes, we are removing these self-reported targeting fields until we have the right processes in place to help prevent this issue," Facebook added.

Last year, ProPublica reported that Facebook allowed advertisers to exclude users by race when running housing or other ads, despite a prohibition on such ads under the U.S. Fair Housing Act 1969.

Facebook reported $27.6 billion in 2016 revenue, the vast majority from advertising.



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