ProPublica, a non-profit, investigative news outlet, found that Facebook was still approving discriminatory Facebook ads despite the social media giant promising to prohibit such discrimination.
The news journal bought rental housing ads on Facebook and marked them to exclude groups protected under the Federal Fair Housing Act. The groups excluded from the “dummy ads” included African-Americans, people interested in wheelchair ramps, mothers with high school-age children, expats from Argentina, Jews, and Spanish speakers.
Shockingly, every ad was approved within a few minutes.
Facebook’s vice president of product management, Ami Vora, had this to say, “This was a failure in our enforcement, and we’re disappointed that we fell short of our commitments.” Ultimately, the blame was put on a technical failure.
Note that violators, meaning the creator of the ads, could face tens of thousands in fines.
While Facebook says that they will continue to improve their ad system, it is ultimately up to the ad creator to ensure that their ad does not violate federal laws.