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  • Property ads that exclude individuals will be considered discriminatory behavior, while ads that target individuals too specifically could also be prejudice
  • Advertisers will be required to sign a digital agreement with the website regarding discriminatory practices
  • Facebook will delete 5,000 targeting categories deemed discriminatory, but won’t release the list of categories

Facebook has launched a new anti-discriminatory policy aimed at individuals placing ads for property on the social networking site. 

The policy states that advertisers may not specifically target or exclude individuals of a certain age, race, ethnicity, religion or background, and that the ads must be “inclusive” and “extended to all groups of people”.

Whilst the policy announcement isn’t stated to be targeted at real estate agents, the policy gives specific examples of discrimination for ads about housing, credit and employment opportunities.

This new policy comes after the US Department of Housing and Urban Development filed a complaint against Facebook for violating the Fair Housing Act by allowing advertisers to discriminate against individuals in targeted ads for housing.

In an ironic twist, the anti-discrimination policy regarding targeting individuals and groups, is specifically targeted at real estate agents & property managers Source: Facebook

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Discriminatory Terms List Includes Using The Noun “Other”

Facebook’s policy outlines a number of key phrases that will be banned from appearing in ads where demographic targeting is present, including using the word “other” when describing a person’s age, race, religion or gender.

A list of examples provided by the social networking site of phrases and words that will be banned from adverts Source: Facebook

Advertisers using the platform will be required to sign a digital agreement with Facebook, or ads placed on the site may suffer “limited reach” according to Facebook.

Exclusion Marketing Not Standard Practice

General Manager of RentingAdelaide and prolific industry advocate Brett Wheatland spoke with Real Estate News Group, saying the practice of excluding prospective tenants was not a practice he’s witnessed in the industry.

Brett Wheatland Source: RentingAdelaide

“(Excluding postcodes) is not a practice I expect any property manager would undertake, I think exclusion marketing is a reverse method of thinking, and most Property Managers would generally include those postcodes they want their property exposed to, rather than exclude.”

Wheatland also stated that targeting particular individuals who may be interested in a property was a practice he supported and used frequently to attract tenants.

“I am all for targeted marketing, and see postcode as a relevant and legitimate method of putting a property in front of people that are looking in that space.”

“We see prospective tenants move long distances and across varying postcodes, so excluding a particular “type” of tenant could in fact be detrimental to the process especially given the method in which tenants search is often prioritised by their preferred location and price. Excluding your marketing from certain geolocations would seriously limit your opportunities, given that where people searching from and where they are searching to live are often very different.”

“I’ve not heard of any PM’s excluding markets, as the entire concept is to find as many suitable applicants as humanely possible.”

Facebook Removes 5,000 Discriminatory Ad Targeting Categories

In August this year, the Facebook ad platform was being heavily scrutinized for it’s targeting tools, after the Department for Housing and Urban Development filed a complaint against the social media giant, alleging that it was in breach of the Fair Housing Act.

The purge of categories includes keywords like “Islamic Culture”, “Buddhism” and other minority groups, targeted based on likes and participation in groups and pages.

There are 1.85 Million More Facebook Accounts For 15-39 Year Olds Than Actually Exist in Australia 

“Facebook inflation” is the term for the number of accounts that exist for individuals that don’t exist in Australia’s official population data – and the gap between Facebook’s reported reach of 25 – 29 year olds in Australia reached a whopping 141% of actual existing individuals this year.

Quotes edited for clarity & context in which they were given.

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