News Worms
News Worms

Facebook will try fighting ad discrimination with algorithms

Facebook will try fighting ad discrimination with algorithms

The company said Wednesday that its policies now say that ads can not discriminate people based on attributes such as race, gender, sexual orientation or medical or genetic condition, said Steve Satterfield, manager of privacy and public policy at Facebook.

The Internet giant was scrutinized for its ad policy first last October, when reports surfaced that companies could ask the social network to not show their adverts to select ethnic affinities.

While an education section has been created to offer advice on how to properly (and legally) use Facebook Ads, the company wants to be more proactive and has turned to machine learning for help.

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Advertisers must also affirm they understand Facebook's anti-discrimination policies.

According to The Verge, Menlo Park does not let advertisers to allow users to self-identify race or specifically market to specific races.

Following outcries, Facebook said that it would correct its policies and make them fair and unbiased on the basis of race - at least where housing, employments or credit was concerned.

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With the new tool, Facebook hopes it will be able to more quickly reject discriminatory ads. "Over the past several months, we've met with policymakers and civil rights leaders to gather feedback about ways to improve our enforcement while preserving the beneficial uses of our advertising tools".

Facebook's ad discrimination problem appeared after ProPublica investigation last fall which alleged that that the platform's enabled advertising that would be illegal under federal civil rights laws. "This will allow us to more quickly provide notices and educational information to advertisers - and more quickly respond to violations of our policy", Facebook explained. "We're glad to see Facebook implementing strong policies so that advertisers of housing, credit, and employment don't use Facebook's ad targeting to exclude certain users", said Rachel Goodman, attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union's Racial Justice Program, in a statement. We will then require the advertiser to certify that it is complying with that policy and with applicable anti-discrimination laws.

"We heard concerns that discriminatory advertising can wrongfully deprive people of opportunities and experiences, particularly in the areas of housing, employment and credit, where certain groups historically have faced discrimination", a spokesperson wrote in a blog post announcing the changes Wednesday.

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