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Facebook To Ban Advertisements That Exclude Certain Races

PITTSBURGH (CBS) -- Facebook announced they will no longer allow advertisers to exclude certain races or ethnic groups when placing certain types of ads on Facebook.

The social media giant was sued by a group of users for discrimination in credit, housing and employment advertisements, because it allowed advertisements to run specific to ethnic groups.

The change was ignited by heat from multiple angles, including policy makers, civil rights leaders, federal law makers, lawyers, users and The Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Erin Egan, Facebook's vice president of U.S. public policy, spoke about the change to USA Today.

"We are going to turn off, actually prohibit, the use of ethnic affinity marketing for ads that we identify as offering housing, employment and credit," said Egan.

Egan defended Facebook's allowance of the ads in the first place, citing that it's not uncommon nor new.

"These tools are intended to be inclusive. That's why we created these tools," said Egan. "People have been using multicultural advertising for years in order to reach people."

The decision is regarded as a positive one by civil rights activists, and Egan adhered to their concerns.

"In light of the concerns that have been raised, we are taking this step," Egan said.

Facebook offered advertisers multicultural marketing to target - or exclude - certain types of users on Facebook.  But according to discrimination lawyers, that practice can raise some serious legal issues.

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