back to article Meta agrees to tweak ad system after US govt brands it discriminatory

Facebook parent Meta has settled a complaint brought by the US government, which alleged the internet giant's machine-learning algorithms broke the law by blocking certain users from seeing online real-estate adverts based on their nationality, race, religion, sex, and marital status. Specifically, Meta violated America's Fair …

  1. Anonymous Coward

    Better than nothing

    But the question remains, why are the "Lookalike Audience" or "Special Ad Audience" tools allowed to exist at all?

    Targeted ads, beyond maybe general location radius, shouldn't be allowed to exist at all.

    1. Sampler

      Re: Better than nothing

      Given they're proven to be less effective, it does boggle ones mind as to why they keep being built and sold..

      1. Joe W Silver badge

        Re: Better than nothing

        Well, same with any snake oil sold to manglement: the new shiny-shiny is better than the old shiny-shiny and since Facebook (sorry... Meta) developed it and it has AI (and maybe LASERs!!) it has to be good, no GREAT, the greatest product EV-AHR! Sure, the old one was a sack of kack, but the new one is the bee's knees and the mutt's... you get the point.

        Don't tell me you have not seen that in any place you have been working...


        - chum suggest a product / company B to manager of company A

        - salesdroid of company B appears

        - chum gets a hefty consultation fee from A and B

        - manager of A gets a signing bonus from chum

        The need of the company does not factor in.

  2. DS999 Silver badge


    Yeah, that'll show 'em!

  3. Neil C Burns

    facebook ads load of crap at best. 99% of the ads i see are scams, reported, yet keep seeing them......

  4. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    90% of ads are wasted, the problem is in knowing which 90%. Which is why the holy grail of advertising is finding a method of targetting ads to those who will be receptive to them. The more that human legislators insist that targetting methods perform the way they insist they should rather than the way that results in the targetting working, the more useless that targetting becomes, the crappier the end-user experience as 90% of the content flung at them is irrelevent to them. Do you really want to be advertising fly fishing equipment in Railway Today just because legislators insist that's "fair"?

    1. katrinab Silver badge

      Do you really want to be advertising pregnancy testing kits, nursery school places, and men's underwear[1] on El Reg, because some advertising algorithm has decided that is more appropriate for me than computer stuff.

      [1] Yes, that is something that is targeted at women, because apparently men are incapable of dressing themselves and need a woman to do it for them.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      For me, it's more like 99.99%. An ad that I actually bother to look at is extremely rare, even when it gets displayed. ("Sponsored" gets autotranslated in my head to "Skip this".) I don't mind ads, but my adblocker is on to prevent tracking and malware, which ends up stopping most ads along the way.

      If the ads would be about the same thing that the site is about, I'd be FAR more likely to look at them - after all, it's something I'm apparently mildly interested in. Railway Today would logically have ads for model railroad items, schedules, rail-themed clothing, coffee cups, etc. No targeting needed, much less individual tracking.

  5. skeptical i

    wasted overkill

    Anything more complicated/ invasive than "you posted about going out to dinner, your profile indicates you're in East Sometown, we'll show an advert for a restaurant within ten miles of East Sometown or for a national restaurant chain if we don't have anything specifically in East Sometown" or "you posted about going to your kid's ball game, we'll flash an advert for a sporting goods store" seems wasted to me, but I don't do fecesbook so what do I know.

    1. katrinab Silver badge

      Re: wasted overkill

      You've just bought a trampoline, so we will flood you with ads for the exact same trampoline that you just bought for the next 3 months.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: wasted overkill

        You'd think they'd at least be bright enough to offer ads for enhanced health and dental insurance (trampoline use is sometimes considered a "high risk" activity), but no...

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like