As we saw in class, Facebook Ads offers the possibility of creating a very specific target for a company’s advertisements. The filters go from general ones that are used currently as ‘age’ to others that are more specific as ‘residential profiles’ (likely to move, new mover, recent homebuyer, etc.). This may be completely useful for companies trying to reach a specific target market, but a lot of people have questioned the extent to which this allows discrimination. As we talked in class, companies could target people based on categories like ‘Jew Hater.’ This was not the only category that created a scandal as companies could also target people of the ‘Ku-Klux-Klan’ and others.
The problem is that Facebook allows advertisers to target people based on self-reported categories like field of study, school, job title or company. When users put “Jew hater” as their field of study, for example, that label was then appearing to advertisers as a legitimate way to target people with ads (Wagner, 2017).
Facebook is now trying to solve these issues, but while they come up with a way to maintain the targeting options without letting these mistakes happen again, the company decided to eliminate the targeting categories mentioned above. However, the removal of these categories only applies to new campaigns (Peterson, 2017). It will be interesting to see how Facebook will manage to get these categories back without letting anyone fool their algorithm.
Peterson, T. (2017). Facebook’s removal of 4 ad targeting options does not apply to existing campaigns. Retrieved from https://marketingland.com/facebooks-ad-targeting-options-removal-not-apply-existing-campaigns-224495
Wagner, K. (2017). Facebook is temporarily removing the ad targeting option that let marketers reach ‘Jew haters’. Retrieved from https://www.recode.net/2017/9/15/16311724/facebook-ad-targeting-jew-software-algorithm-mark-zuckerberg