Is Facebook racist ? Recent headlines centered around the social media giant this past week as it’s been revealed that Facebook allows their advertisers to exclusively pick and choose which ethnic groups they would like to target with their ads.
Is Facebook racist?
If you don’t know by now, Facebook makes nearly 100% of its revenue from selling ad space. The company has boasted “it’s free and always will be” on the standard Facebook signup page for years, so it’s hard to blame them for wanting to stay in business and turn a profit. Facebook has managed to remain successful due to its advertising capabilities, not to mention the site’s complete evolution of how the world goes about online networking, marketing and advertising.
According to a recent ProPublica report, Facebook allows advertisers to pick and choose what they call “ethnic affinities”, allowing the advertisers to create hyper-targeted ads. In the ProPublica example, the investigators purchased space for an ad to get the word out about a ProPublica event, and the Facebook ad portal gave the purchasers a selection of ethnic affinities that included “African American, Asian American, or Hispanic” as examples of groups that they did not want to see their advertisement.
This example, according to ProPublica, is in direct violation of Fair Housing Act of 1968, which states that it is illegal:
“to make, print, or publish, or cause to be made, printed, or published any notice, statement, or advertisement, with respect to the sale or rental of a dwelling that indicates any preference, limitation, or discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin.”
So what do you think? Is Facebook crossing the line and breaking the law? Or, are they simply making it easier for advertisers to reach their desired target audiences?
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