Google said on Thursday it would ban ads on housing, employment and credit based on a user’s zip code, gender, age, parenthood or marital status, in response to illegal discrimination, The Company said on Thursday. The new policy will take effect in the U.S. and Canada by the end of this year. More than a year ago, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development accused Facebook of running discriminatory housing ads and said it was investigating similar issues with Google and Twitter.
Google and Facebook are known to account for more than half of global Internet advertising sales, so the advertising policies of the two companies are important to the industry.
But Google said the new policy was not a response to the protests over Floyd’s death.
A Google spokesman said: “We have been working constructively with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on these issues since last year, and our arrangements have not been affected by the current events.” “
At a news conference Thursday, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development encouraged other online advertisers to follow Google’s lead. Twitter says there are no policy updates to share.
Google is known to have in the past banned advertisers from targeting ads based on their users’ race, religion, race or sexual orientation. But researchers say advertisers can still use other data to exclude low-income people and minorities from their potential customers.
For example, a postal code might represent a user of a race because people with similar backgrounds sometimes come together.
Before the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development filed the complaint, Facebook prohibited advertisers from deciding who would see the ads based on their zip code, age and gender. Facebook and U.S. prosecutors say the case is under trial and has been turned over to federal court in New York.