Facebook has agreed to amend its advertising platform in order to ensure minorities and other specific groups can no longer be blocked from viewing specific adverts, after pledging to implement such changes nationwide within 90 days.
The agreement was reached with Washington State which had been investigating Facebook’s advertising conduct since non-profit news organisation ProPublica published claims that advertisers were able to exclude users on the basis of their race.
That sparked a storm of controversy with civil liberties groups such as the National Fair Housing Alliance bringing forward claims that the social network’s advertising platform facilitated discrimination by landlords and estate agents to preclude people from housing on the basis of their race, gender or family status.
In an email Will Castleberry, Facebook’s vice president of state and local policy, wrote: “Discriminatory advertising has no place on our platform, and we'll continue to improve our ad products so they're relevant, effective, and safe for everyone.”
As part of its investigation Washington fabricated 20 fake Facebook ads with which it demonstrated that ethnic minorities could be blocked from receiving adverts for specific nightclubs, restaurants, loans and jobs.
Facebook previously pledged to refine its 'ethnic affinity' advertising policies to prevent discrimination.