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Discriminatory Housing And Job Ads To Be Barred By Google

Discriminatory Housing And Job Ads To Be Barred By Google
Any advertisements for housing, employment and credit that are posted on the platforms of Alphabet Inc’s Google that are targeted on the basis of postal code, gender, age, parental status or marital status will be barred by the it, the company has said, as a part of its efforts to tackling unlawful discrimination.
The company said that this new policy will be implemented in the United States can Canada starting bathe end of the current year. About a year ago, social media company Facebook was pulled up by US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) over charges of allowing the advertisement and sale of discriminatory housing ads. Back them the HYD has said that similar concerns with respect to Google and Twitter were also being looked into by it.
Just about more than half of Internet ad sales globally is accounted for by Google and Facebook together which means that the advertisement policies that these companies implement have industry wide implications.  
A renewed focus on racial inequities, including the challenges black people face in finding jobs and housing, has been placed by the nationwide protests against the death of George Floyd, an African American man who died in police custody in Minneapolis.
Google however said that its new policy was not because of the anti racism protests in America.
“We had been working constructively with HUD on these issues since last year, and our timeline has not been driven by current events,” Google spokesperson Elijah Lawal said.
Other online ad sellers were urged to follow Google’s action by HUD in a press release on Thursday.
Twitter said it had no policy updates to share.
Previously any advertisements placed on its platforms that targets audiences on the basis of users’ race, religion, ethnicity or sexual orientation had been previously barred by Google. However, online advertisers could still engage in discrimination by using other data to engineer exclusion of lower-income individuals and racial minorities from their potential customer pool, said researchers investigating discrimination issues on the internet.
The researchers and activists, for example, point out to the use of ZIP codes in advertisements which could act as geographical proxy identification for race because of the tendency of people with similar background to sometimes stay in cluster in neighborhoods.
Even before HUD took action last year, targeting of advertisements on the basis of ZIP codes, age and gender, which helps top target who would see ads, was banned by Facebook.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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