Facebook defends 'ethnic affinity' ad targeting

In a blog post, Facebook's head of multicultural, Christian Martinez, defended the company's use of targeting on ethnic lines.

PALO ALTO, CA: Facebook has fired back at criticism over allowing advertisers to exclude users in ad campaigns based on their "ethnic affinity."

The social media giant told the news service ProPublica that it began offering the "ethnic affinity" categories in the last two years as part of a "multicultural advertising" effort.

Advertisers are able to exclude certain ethnic groups from ad campaigns, such as African-American, Asian-American, or Hispanic.

In a blog post, Facebook’s head of multicultural, Christian Martinez, defended the company’s use of targeting on ethnic lines.

"This kind of communication is positive: it reflects an advertiser’s respect for the diverse communities it is trying to reach," he said. "But it’s important to know that there’s also negative exclusion — for example, an apartment building that won’t rent to black people or an employer that only hires men. Our ad policies strictly prohibit this kind of advertising, and it’s against the law.

He added that "if we learn of advertising on our platform that involves this kind of discrimination, we will take aggressive enforcement action."

This story first appeared on campaignlive.co.uk.

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