Facebook’s ad system was intentionally designed for advertisers to discriminate based on age, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, ethnicity, language spoken and so on. They defended it because, you know, everyone does it.
This was covered extensively here.
After a decade of fostering discrimination, Facebook is now “committed to protecting people from discriminatory advertising” (translation: lawsuits and a Federal government investigation really stink):
We’re committed to protecting people from discriminatory advertising on our platforms. That’s why we’re removing over 5,000 targeting options to help prevent misuse. While these options have been used in legitimate ways to reach people interested in a certain product or service, we think minimizing the risk of abuse is more important. This includes limiting the ability for advertisers to exclude audiences that relate to attributes such as ethnicity or religion.
5000 targeting options?
Facebook says they have been working on this for a long time, although it comes one business day after the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Administration filed a complaint against Facebook for fostering discrimination in housing ads.