Internet search giant Google has announced new polices for advertisers that will prevent them from targeting or excluding ads for housing, employment and credit based on ZIP codes and demographics.
The new policies are meant to prevent housing discrimination, Google said. They’re an expansion of existing policies that prevent advertisers from targeting ads based on things such as people’s gender, age, parental and marital status.
“We will continue to strive to set policies that improve inclusion and access for users,” the company stated in an announcement.
Google said it worked closely with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to create the new policies. The company’s move follows a similar decision by Facebook, which last year made several changes to its advertising platform after being accused of enabling housing discrimination with its targeted ad tools.
“As part of our effort we’ll provide housing advertisers with additional information about fair housing to help ensure they are acting in ways that support access to housing opportunities,” said Scott Spencer, Google’s Vice President of Product Management, Ads Privacy and Safety, in a blog post. “We will also continue to work with HUD, civil rights and housing experts, and the broader advertising industry to address concerns around discrimination in ad targeting.”
Google said it plans to introduce the new policies in the U.S. and Canada as soon as possible, though it said the changing circumstances of the coronavirus pandemic and business continuity issues make a precise timeline difficult to adhere to.
“We will be providing advertisers with more information about how these changes may impact them in the coming weeks,” Google said.