Demand Facebook Stop Racial Discrimination in Advertising

Target: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

Goal: Tell Facebook to stop offering a service that allows advertisers to exclude people based on ethnic identity.

Facebook created a filter that lets advertisers pick which ethnicities they wish to target. Advertisers are able to select a button that allows them to target or exclude based on “ethnic affinity.”

ProPublica, a nonprofit newsroom, purchased an ad to show how this feature could be used to exclude certain communities from equal housing opportunities. They bought an ad that was meant to provide resources at a public event for people looking to find an apartment. While purchasing the ad, they took screen shots showing that they excluded African Americans, Asian Americans, and Hispanic Americans from the list of accounts that they wanted the ad to appear on. This meant that those groups would not be informed about the event, so they would be less likely to obtain housing in that area. This activity would keep minorities from applying for apartments in that building. This kind of discrimination is illegal.

The social media giant claims that the reason they developed this feature is to allow for more “multicultural advertising options.” They wanted advertisers to be able to target communities with ads that were specifically intended for select groups. They say that option is meant to encourage more inclusion within the advertising sector.

Even if this feature was made with the best of intentions, it can be easily perverted to exclude groups based on race. The complications with this option far outweigh the potential benefits. Sign this petition to tell Facebook to get rid of this discriminatory feature.


Dear Mr. Zuckerberg,

Facebook has introduced a feature that allows advertisers to target or exclude groups based on their ethnicity. You claim that this feature was created to allow for more “multicultural advertising options,” but it can be used to illegally discriminate against ethnic minorities. Tracking and proving which ads are used appropriately and which are used in a discriminatory fashion is almost impossible. This is not a task that Facebook is undertaking or has the desire to undertake. Without regulation and review, it is too easy to abuse this advertising tool.

America is country that is already struggling with issues of racism and inclusion. These kind of marketing strategies make it harder for the country to overcome these pressing issues. Please remove this feature from your list of options for advertisers to show that Facebook truly promotes equality.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: kropekk_pl

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  1. Gen Lovyet Agustsson says:


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