When ProPublica exposed how Facebook allowed advertisers to run discriminatory ads throughout its platform, the company claimed it had built a system to find and refuse discriminatory advertising. ProPublica went back and tested Facebook’s system again, only to discover that they could get discriminatory ads approved for Facebook posting without any hindrance.
As ProPublica reports, last week it bought “dozens of rental housing ads on Facebook, but asked that they not be shown to certain categories of users, such as African Americans, mothers of high school kids, people interested in wheelchair ramps, Jews, expats from Argentina and Spanish speakers.” Every single ad was approved within minutes.
ProPublica notes that every one of these targeted groups is protected under the federal Fair Housing Act, making the publication of discriminatory advertising relating to any of them a federal crime. ProPublica calls out the social media giant for its rampant failures to uphold its claims of change and improvement, noting that those failures raise significant questions about Facebook’s compliance with the Fair Housing Act rules as well as its ability to police its own network — and its commitment to even trying to do so.
The full report is available online at ProPublica’s website.