Facebook Removed 5,000 Ad Categories that Excluded Users Based on Religion, Race

In an effort to make its advertising platform less discriminatory, Facebook announced last week it had removed thousands of ad-targeting categories that excluded based on ethnicity and religion.

“We’re committed to protecting people from discriminatory advertising on our platforms. That’s why we’re removing over 5,000 targeting options to help prevent misuse,” the company wrote in a blog post.

In addition, the social network is looking to expand advertiser education on discriminatory behavior. Facebook plans to provide updates to their ad targeting tools and increased education that aligns with the company’s advertising principles.

CNET reported that Facebook will not release the full list of deleted categories in an effort to prevent advertisers from cheating the new system. However, two examples of the removed interest categories that advertisers were previously able to use on the platform included “Buddhism” and “Islamic culture.”

In the coming weeks, Facebook advertisers will be required to go through a process of certification that will educate them on their obligations to the company’s non-discrimination policies. Advertisers will be instructed on the difference between acceptable ad targeting and ad discrimination. This new certification will gradually roll out to all US advertisers via the Ads Manager tool and its completion will be required to continue advertising on the platform.

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