Incident 161: Facebook's Ad Delivery Reportedly Excluded Audience along Racial and Gender Lines

Description: Facebook's housing and employment ad delivery process allegedly resulted in skews in exposure for some users along demographic lines such as gender and racial identity.


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Alleged: Facebook developed and deployed an AI system, which harmed female Facebook users , Black Facebook users and male Facebook users.

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Sean McGregor, Khoa Lam
Discrimination through optimization: How Facebook's ad delivery can lead to skewed outcomes · 2019

The enormous financial success of online advertising platforms is partially due to the precise targeting features they offer. Although researchers and journalists have found many ways that advertisers can target---or exclude---particular gr…

Facebook’s ad algorithms are still excluding women from seeing jobs · 2021

Facebook is withholding certain job ads from women because of their gender, according to the latest audit of its ad service.

The audit, conducted by independent researchers at the University of Southern California (USC), reveals that Facebo…

Auditing for Discrimination in Algorithms Delivering Job Ads · 2021

Ad platforms such as Facebook, Google and LinkedIn promise value for advertisers through their targeted advertising. However, multiple studies have shown that ad delivery on such platforms can be skewed by gender or race due to hidden algor…


A "variant" is an incident that shares the same causative factors, produces similar harms, and involves the same intelligent systems as a known AI incident. Rather than index variants as entirely separate incidents, we list variations of incidents under the first similar incident submitted to the database. Unlike other submission types to the incident database, variants are not required to have reporting in evidence external to the Incident Database. Learn more from the research paper.

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