Facebook says it will no longer allow advertisers to limit the reach of their housing, employment or credit-related ads to what Facebook calls a user's "ethnic affinity." The decision comes after users, law enforcement, and the Congressional Black caucus said Facebook's actions violated the Fair Housing Act. Facebook is notoriously secret about the inner workings of its advertising and profiling algorithms work, but a few weeks ago this policy came to light after Julia Angwin, a reporter at Pro Publica, took out a real estate ad and was able to exclude those that Facebook has labeled as having African American and Asian ethnic affinities. Facebook approved the ad in less than 15 minutes. Initially defensive of its actions, the company published a blog post today explaining that going forward it will build tools to detect and automatically disable the use of ethnic affinity marketing for certain types of ads and offer more clarification and education around the issue.
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