Facebook agrees advertising policy reforms to settle US lawsuits

Facebook and US civil rights groups said on Tuesday the company had agreed to change its paid advertising platform as part of a broad-based settlement to prevent discriminatory and “harmful” practices.

Rights groups said in a joint statement that Facebook would create a new portal under the agreement to publicize ads related to housing, employment and credit ads that would limit targeting options to those advertising all its services, including Instagram and messaging.

Advertisers on the portal, which will be separate from the advertising system through a range of services, will not be able to target ads by age, gender or cultural affiliation, it added.

Advertisers will also require the use of the minimum geographic perimeter for site-related targeting to prevent the exclusion of particular communities.

“There is a long history of discrimination in areas such as housing, employment and credit, and such harmful behavior should not happen through Facebook ads,” Cheryl Sandberg, the company’s chief operating officer, said in a separate statement.

Under the settlement, Facebook is committed to setting up its advertising portal by Sept. 30 and implementing other changes by the end of the year.

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