Deputy Director of Litigation Coty Montag and Harvard Public Interest Fellow Elizabeth Reese wrote a piece discussing Facebook’s actions to implement policies to deter discriminatory ethnic affinity advertisements.
“Regrettably, there has always been a market for discrimination in this country. The United States has a long history of targeting racial minorities with products that take advantage of them and denying minorities equal access to the market for homes, jobs, and educational opportunities. Entire communities of color were, and continue to be, denied equal access to things like mortgage loans because of their race. Disproportionate access to certain parts of the market can be devastating for minority communities and serve to reinforce contemporary segregation. We need to ensure that today’s employers, landlords, and lenders don’t rely on targeted advertisements to narrow the audience of their advertisements to certain “ethnic affinity” users. …
“LDF is pleased to see that Facebook is taking steps to deter ethnic affinity advertisements, including developing tools that will find and disable ethnic affinity advertisements in the areas of housing, employment, and credit. Additionally, Facebook announced it will update its advertising policies and step-up educational efforts for advertisers on this issue. LDF is pleased that our conversations with Facebook have helped it recognize the unique responsibility it has to ensure that twenty-first century technology doesn’t mean twenty-first century discrimination. We hope that other tech companies will take notice.”