Facebook is a social media network that has over one billion users worldwide. People know it as a fast and free way to communicate with their friends and family no matter where they live. But what few people outside the business community realize is that you can advertise on Facebook as well.
Facebook Ads lets you basically pay for clicks to your ads which get shown on the social media website. Advertisers have a lot of options they can use to filter which demographics they want to see their ads. More specifically, there is a filter for “Ethnic Affinities” which lets you exclude certain races such as Hispanics, Asian Americans, and African Americans.
The controversy here is when it comes to listing ads pertaining to real estate. It is against the Fair Housing Act and other federal anti-discrimination housing laws for anyone advertising real estate to exclude a particular race from seeing their ad or inquiring about the listing. If Facebook is actually letting advertisers do this, then they could be guilty of breaking the law.
Facebook generates virtually all its revenue from selling advertising space on their website. They give advertisers the ability to help target their ads to an audience they want to reach. The problem here is that letting advertisers exclude a certain race could actually be considered a violation of that race’s civil rights.
There is no telling right now if Facebook is going to change this filter or take it out entirely. They probably didn’t intend on breaking any laws or offending any people. They just have very sophisticated technology which gives advertisers a lot of options for targeting their audience. Is it fair to let them target the races they want to target? Perhaps for certain items and services it is, but not housing.