Home Platforms Google To Ban Discriminatory Targeting For Housing, Employment And Credit Ads

Google To Ban Discriminatory Targeting For Housing, Employment And Credit Ads


Google will stop allowing advertisers to target users for housing, employment and credit ads based on age, gender, parental status, marital status or ZIP code.

If that sounds familiar, it’s because Facebook made a similar move late last year.

Google announced its intentions on Thursday, but the changes won’t be fully implemented in the United States and Canada until the end of 2020.

Advertisers should expect Google reps to reach out with more info in the coming weeks about how these changes may impact them, including ways in which they can more actively support access to housing and other opportunities.

The Fair Housing Act in the United States makes it illegal to discriminate based on religion, color, national origin or gender for the sale, rental or financing of housing.

Google’s ad policies already prohibit personalization based on sensitive categories, including race, religion, sexual orientation, national origin and disability.

But the option to target – and, by the same token, exclude – people by age and gender and other related targeting parameters is an invitation to discriminate against certain populations.

Google has been working with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) on these changes “for some time,” Scott Spencer, Google’s VP of product management, ads privacy and safety noted in a blog post.

Spencer said that Google will “continue to work with HUD, civil rights and housing experts and the broader advertising industry to address concerns around discrimination in ad targeting.”

Dealing with discriminatory ad targeting isn’t a new topic. Google, Twitter and Facebook have all been investigated by HUD for allegedly enabling unfair ad practices. But impassioned calls for a reckoning with bias in all forms after the killing of George Floyd is no doubt turning up the heat on this issue.

“Advertising practices may continue to evolve, but our nation’s laws are unwavering,” HUD Secretary Ben Carson said in a statement released following Google’s announcement. “Improvements are underway in the online advertising space, and HUD encourages platforms, such as Google, to take these types of steps to eliminate unlawful discrimination in advertising.”


AdExchanger Daily

Get our editors’ roundup delivered to your inbox every weekday.

Facebook began making its moves during the summer of 2018 with the removal of 5,000 ad targeting options that could be used to discriminate against minority groups, such as “Native American culture” and “Passover.”

While testifying before Congress in October, Mark Zuckerberg told lawmakers that Facebook was on track to eliminate the ability to target housing, employment and credit opportunity ads by age, gender, ZIP code and certain interest categories by the end of 2019.

Must Read

Nope, We Haven’t Hit Peak Retail Media Yet

The move from in-store to digital shopper marketing continues, as United Airlines, Costco, PayPal, Chase and Expedia make new retail media plays. Plus: what the DSP Madhive saw in advertising sales software company Frequence.

Comic: Ad-ception

The New York Times And Instacart Integrate For Shoppable Recipes

The New York Times and Instacart are partnering for shoppable recipe videos.

Experian Enters The Third-Party Data Onboarding Business

Experian entered the third-party data onboarder market on Tuesday with a new product based on its Tapad acquisition.

Privacy! Commerce! Connected TV! Read all about it. Subscribe to AdExchanger Newsletters

Albertsons Takes Its First Steps Into Non-Endemic Advertising, Retail Media’s Next Frontier

Albertsons is taking that first step into non-endemic advertising next week via a partnership with Rokt to serve ads to people who have already purchased groceries.

Marketecture Buys AdTechGod (No, Really)

Marketecture has acquired AdTechGod – an anonymous ad tech Twitter poster turned one-man content studio – and the AdTech Forum, an information resource hosted by AdTechGod and Jeremy Bloom.

Why The False Advertising Lawsuit Against Poppi Is Bad News For RMNs

This week’s dispatch explores the new trend of false advertising class-action suits in the food and CPG industry and how the evolution of online, data-driven retail media could exacerbate the problem.