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Facebook’s Ads Based on Race & Gender Stereotypes

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On Wednesday 3, 2019, a research paper revealed that Facebook is in trouble because of its ads  based on race and ethnicity gender. The researchers said that Facebook ads are pretty racist. To see the Facebook algorithm’s response, they spent $8,500 running dozens of ads to check whether Facebook’s ad targeting was skewing certain ads towards or away from the particular group.   

One of the researchers said, ” they put together ads for houses up for sale or rent in North Carolina, they found that ads for houses on sale were delivered to an audience that was 75% white users. Ads for houses for rent were shown to a more mixed demographic.”

Researchers created advertisements for various types of work across North Carolina without targeting the particular audience — doctors, lumberjacks, AI developers, taxi driver, cashier, etc. but the Facebook algorithm has automatically discriminated the ads according to their preferences which results in –

• Lumberjacks jobs were delivered to 72% white and 90% male.

• Cashier job was given to 85% of females audiences.

• The job of taxi drivers was delivered to a 75% black audience.

In a statement, Facebook’s  spokesperson said that they have made changes to its ads platform to deliver the best experience on users’ desk. 

“We’ve announced important changes to our ad targeting tools and know that this is only a first step. We’ve been looking at our ad delivery system and have engaged industry leaders, academics and civil rights experts on this very topic – and we’re exploring more changes.”

As per the researcher’s reports, they also ran same ads to the same public but with different budgets. Users who saw the ads ranged above 55% of men with very low budget ads to less than 45% men for ads with high budget ads. Ads targeting the same audience but including a creative element referring to those people who are interested in that particular ad content. For example, the ads related to bikes, and bodybuilding can deliver to more than 80% men, whereas ads with creative elements like cosmetics products could deliver to more than 90% women.

Also Read: How Facebook Stories Ads Could Be A Big Game Changer?

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