Facebook Rises Against ‘Ethnic Affinity’ Discrimination

Facebook advertisers for housing, credit and employment can no longer use the ‘ethnic affinity’ feature to target or exclude audience.

The announcement comes a week after a group of Facebook users filed a lawsuit against the site, arguing that the targeted ad practice violated the Fair Housing Act of 1968 and the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, is seeking class action status. The complaint pointed out that there was no option for advertisers to exclude “White or Caucasian Americans from the target audience.”

Ethnic Affinity feature on Facebook targeting

Ethnic Affinity feature on Facebook targeting

The suit is a follow-up of ProPublica’s disclosure last month that advertisers are using the option to discriminate and explicitly exclude African Americans, Asian Americans, and Hispanics. As an example, they showed a housing ad that was running on Facebook.

“We take these issues seriously,” Facebook said in a statement Friday. “Discriminatory advertising has no place on Facebook.”

This is what the Chief Privacy Officer of Facebook, Erin Egan has to say: There are many non-discriminatory uses of our ethnic affinity solution in these areas, but we have decided that we can best guard against discrimination by suspending these types of ads. We will continue to explore ways that our ethnic affinity solution can be used to promote inclusion of underrepresented communities, and we will continue to work with stakeholders toward that goal.

In the meanwhile, Facebook is developing tools to find and automatically disable ethnic affinity marketing for the covered categories.

Also, the company has vowed to offer more clarification and education regarding its advertising policies. It also plans to talk with policymakers and civil rights leaders to find “additional ways to combat discrimination, while increasing opportunity”.

You may read the official Facebook announcement regarding the issue.

Facebook is Experimenting Ads in Groups Now

One topic that dominated Facebook’s second quarter earnings call last July – was the issue of ads overload on users’ news feeds.

According to Facebook’s CFO David Wehner, by middle of next year Facebook will max out the ratio of ads to organic feeds in users’ news feeds. Till then though, this is what he has to say: ““We anticipate ad load on Facebook will continue to grow modestly over the next 12 months”.

Facebook now is looking at new avenues for revenue. One idea is ads in Facebook Groups.

Ads in Facebook Groups is a win-win situation for both Facebook and advertisers. By reducing ads on the news feeds, Facebook will be able to give users a more satisfactory experience. And on the other hand, advertisers will have access to more granular demographics as the audience in the Groups are organized around specific topics or communities and classified by interests.

According to Facebook, its Groups feature has more than 1 billion users. At present, Facebook is running a trial by placing ads on the mobile and desktop versions of the Groups in Australia, Canada, Ireland and New Zealand.

The Groups ads will look the same as those appearing on users’ news feeds now. They will be targeted by Group topics and the standard identity-based targeting.

It however, remains to be seen how this ‘incursion’ will be taken by members of the Groups – especially those from the closed and secret Groups.

Twitter jumped on the bandwagon of Snapchat and Instagram

Twitter jumped on the bandwagon of Snapchat and Instagram, and introduced its new feature to showcase curated content – named Moments. Below is the official announcement:


In essence, the feature can be termed as a combination of services like Storify, Facebook’s Canvas and Snapchat’s Live Stories.

Twitter’s Moments guide is customized to show current topics that are popular or relevant, so you can discover what is unfolding on Twitter in an instant. You can select Moments categorized by News, Sports, Entertainment, Fun, and more. When you see a Moment you’d like to explore, click it to view the entire story.

The feature was in fact, launched last year. Twitter now is following up on its initial promise to eventually open up the platform to all users. At present, Moments tab is available in the United States, Canada (English), Australia, United Kingdom, Brazil (Portuguese) and Mexico (Spanish).

Want to create your own Moments? Check this official guide.

Have you taken the Facebook Blueprint Certification?

Facebook has come up with Blueprint Certification – an advanced level program that certifies your proficiency in Facebook products and services, including advertising. Once you complete it, Facebook will give you a batch that you can use on your Facebook page or website.

Facebook Blueprint Certification will help you stand out as a digital marketing agency or professional with respect to Facebook expertise, including that in Facebook advertising, buying and selling on Facebook, Facebook Analytics and insights, and Facebook reporting.

For more information, visit facebook.com/blueprint

Twitter Official Research Out: Customer Service Interactions Boost Consumer Spending

Twitter has done a study where it reestablishes the fact that customer service is the key to a successful business.

According to the study, on an average, customers are ready to spend 20% more on a product or service from a business which responds to customer tweets quickly.

The research was carried out for pizza delivery brands, telecom companies and airlines. Customers were willing to spend $2.84 or 20% more for pizza brands, $8.35 or 10% more for telco companies, and $9 or 3% more for airlines.

source: Twitter blog

source: Twitter blog


The time you take to respond to a customer’s tweet is also important. This is what Twitter has to say: “When we looked across all Tweets, the median time to first response was approximately 22 minutes (some airlines did respond in as few as 3 seconds). When an airline responded to a customer’s Tweet in less than six minutes, the customer was willing to pay almost $20 more for that airline in the future. Similarly, in the telco industry, customers are willing to pay $17 more per month for a phone plan if they receive a reply within four minutes, but are only willing to pay only $3.52 more if they have to wait over 20 minutes.”

Read more at the official link.

You Can Do More with the 140 characters in Twitter Now

Twitter now does not include @names in replies, media attachments (like photos, GIFs, videos, and polls) or quoted Tweets in its 140 character limit.

Twitter said in its blog: We’re exploring ways to make existing uses easier and enable new ones, all without compromising the unique brevity and speed that make Twitter the best place for live commentary, connections, and conversations.

Read the details https://blog.twitter.com/express-even-more-in-140-characters



Don’t Have Voter Registration in the US Yet? Go to Twitter @Gov

Elections will be up in the US next month. And to ensure that it is a success, Twitter has started an account, @Gov.

If you are an US citizen and wish to seek any information related to the election procedure, your state’s voter registration deadline, link for registration, all you need to do is send a message with your five digit zip code to this account.

Twitter has tied up with Rock the Vote – a non-profit organization. Additionally, Pew’s Voting Information Project and Google’s Information Civic API would answer voter queries like place for polling, information regarding ballot etc.

If you are already registered to vote, then you can tweet this information with the hashtag #iRegistered, which will provide a link to register when anyone clicks on it.

Check Twitter’s official announcement.