Facebook settled three class actions claiming that the platform allows advertisers to unlawfully exclude women, older people and some ethnic groups from having access to job, housing and credit advertisements. Facebook announced that it will make changes to its advertising platform by the end of the year. Advertisers willing to announce housing, employment, or credit opportunities will not be able to target users by location, age and gender. These three categories are protected by the Civil Rights Acts under particular circumstances. Currently, the platform’s policy prohibits any discrimination in advertising, but advertisers can still choose to exclude users based on location, gender and age. Facebook agreed to create a separate place on its platform for advertisers to create ads for jobs, housing and credit. Within this space, Facebook will eliminate age, gender-based targeting as well as proxies associated with protected characteristics.
Intermediaries play a vital role in ensuring Internet functionality. In several Internet governance areas, such as copyright infringement and spam, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are considered key online intermediaries. In other areas, such as defamation and the so-called right to be forgotten, the responsibility extends to hosts of online content and search engines.