Facebook tackles discriminatory ads by removing racial and religious filters

Facebook tackles discriminatory ads by removing racial and religious filters

Facebook is fighting the good fight against discriminatory advertisers by removing certain filters from campaign options. 

An investigation from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development found that some landlords were using Facebook's filtering system to exclude ethnicities and religions from seeing their ads. A complaint was then filed against Facebook's option to filter audiences by sex, race, colour, and other sensitive qualifiers. 

Actively denying housing options from certain demographics is a violation of the Fair Housing Act. The social network has removed over 5,000 filtering options to counteract the behaviour.

“While these options have been used in legitimate ways to reach people interested in a certain product or service, we think minimising the risk of abuse is more important,” Facebook said in a blog post


Facebook also recently removed a handful of pages, groups and accounts for "coordinated inauthentic behaviour".

"We ban this kind of behavior because we want people to be able to trust the connections they make on Facebook. And while we’re making progress rooting out this abuse, as we’ve said before, it’s an ongoing challenge because the people responsible are determined and well funded." Facebook wrote in another release.


Danielle Partis is editor of and former editor of She was named Journalist of the Year at the MCV Women in Games Awards 2019, as well as in the MCV 30 under 30 2020. Prior to Steel Media, she wrote about music and games at Team Rock.