Facebook Inc said on Wednesday it was temporarily disabling the ability of advertisers on its social network to exclude racial groups from the intended audience of ads while it studies how the feature could be used to discriminate.
Facebook’s chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, told African-American U.S. lawmakers in a letter that the company was determined to do better after a news report said Facebook had failed to block discriminatory ads.
The U.S.-based news organization ProPublica reported last week that, as part of an investigation, it had purchased discriminatory housing ads on Facebook and slipped them past the company’s review process, despite claims by Facebook months earlier that it was able to detect and block such ads.
“Until we can better ensure that our tools will not be used inappropriately, we are disabling the option that permits advertisers to exclude multicultural affinity segments from the audience for their ads,” Sandberg wrote in the letter to the Congressional Black Caucus, according to a copy posted online by ProPublica.
It is unlawful under U.S. law to publish certain types of ads if they indicate a preference based on race, religion, sex or certain classifications.
Facebook, the world’s largest social network with 2.1 billion users and $36 billion in annual revenue, has been on the defensive for its advertising practices.
In September it disclosed the existence of Russia-linked ads that ran during the 2016 U.S. election campaign. The same month it turned off a tool, also reported by ProPublica, that had inadvertently let advertisers target based on people’s self-reported job, even if the job was “Jew hater.”
Sandberg said in the letter that advertisers who use Facebook’s targeting options to include certain races for ads about housing, employment or credit will have to certify to Facebook that they are complying with Facebook’s anti-discrimination policy and with applicable law.
Sandberg defended race- and culture-based marketing in general, saying it was a common and legitimate practice in the ad industry to try to reach specific communities.
U.S. Representative Robin Kelly, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, said Facebook’s action was appropriate.
“When I first raised this issue with Facebook, I was disappointed,” Kelly, a Democrat, said in a statement. “When it became necessary to raise the issue again, I was irritated. Thankfully, we’ve been able to establish a constructive pipeline of communication that’s resulted in a positive step forward.”
(Reporting by David Ingram; Editing by Leslie Adler)
Vehicles being used as weapons against protesters is ‘the new normal in 2020’: CNN
CNN's Don Lemon on Friday evening devoted a segment to the rash of incidents in which people have driven through Black Lives Matter protesters in the same manner that killed Heather Heyer at the fatal 2017 "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
"Vehicles used as weapons," Don Lemon began. "You heard me right, vehicles are being used as weapons against Americans taking to the streets in Black Lives Matter protests in cities across this country."
CNN correspondent Evan McMorris-Santoro reported shocking scenes captured on camera of vehicles running down protesters are "common now."
Trump tells supporters he won’t be ‘stupid’ enough for peaceful transition of power if he loses
President Donald Trump continued to spread debunked conspiracy theories about the 2020 presidential election during a Friday night campaign rally in Virginia.
Trump argued that it was impossible for him to lose the election, thus concluding he would be "stupid" to hand over power peacefully should he lose.
"We not gonna lose this, except if they cheat," Trump falsely claimed about the 2020 campaign, where he trails Joe Biden in national and battleground polling.
"That's the only way we're gonna lose is if there's, uh, mischief," he argued. "And it will have to be on a big scale."
Kamala’s family ridicules ‘idiot’ Trump for comments on Sen. Harris at Virginia rally
President Donald Trump lashed out at the Democratic Party vice presidential nominee during a Friday night campaign speech in Newport News, Virginia.
Maya Harris, the sister of Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), was pleased that Trump noted the differences between the two VP choices.
Praise the Lord! https://t.co/6B4Z2qxE8a
— Maya Harris (@mayaharris_) September 26, 2020