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Facebook Housing Ads Run into Trouble with HUD

November 17 2016

We talk a lot about Facebook advertising on RE Technology--and for good reason. It's one of the best ways to reach consumers, thanks to finely tuned targeting options. However, those targeting options are exactly what got the social network in trouble with HUD recently.

Facebook lets you target ads according to all types of criteria--income level, area, age and, yes, race. It's this last item that brought the social network under scrutiny a few weeks ago. A reporter with Pro Publica created a housing ad, and Facebook let her exclude certain groups of people according to their "ethnic affinity."

The article attracted the attention of HUD, who said that excluding people from seeing ads based on their race violated the Fair Housing Act of 1968. Facebook eventually agreed, and has removed the ability to target according to "ethnic affinity" for certain types of ads, including housing ads. You can watch the video above to learn more about this issue.

For an more in-depth discussion on this issue, including Facebook's societal impact, see the following video from Tech News Today: Facebook Updates Ethnic Affinity Marketing.

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