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Earlier this month, Google announced it would be making changes to its Google Ads Policies, which are “written to protect users, advertisers and publishers, and prohibit advertisers from unlawful behavior like discrimination against users,” according to the company.

In order to “further improve access to housing, employment and credit opportunities,” Google says it is introducing a new policy for certain types of ads, prohibiting employment, housing and credit advertisers from targeting or excluding individuals based on their gender, age, parental status, marital status or ZIP code. In addition, advertisers will not be able to target or exclude based on race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, national origin or disability.

Google says they plan to roll out the changes by end of year, although a specific timetable could not be provided due to the “changing circumstances of the coronavirus pandemic and business continuity issues for many advertisers.”

“We’ve been working closely with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) on these changes for some time, and we appreciate their guidance in helping us make progress on these important issues,” said Scott Spencer, vice president of Product Management, Ads Privacy and Safety, at Google. “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. 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’s work with HUD will help ensure that the tech giant’s online advertising policies better align with the requirements of the Fair Housing Act, which is administered by HUD and prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental and financing of most housing in the U.S. based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability and familial status.

“Advertising practices may continue to evolve but our Nation’s laws are unwavering,” said HUD Secretary Ben Carson. “It is one of our key duties at HUD to enforce the Fair Housing Act and ensure that all Americans have housing choice. Improvements are underway in the online advertising space, and HUD encourages platforms, such as Google, to take these types of steps to eliminate unlawful discrimination in advertising and seek to ensure compliance with our Nation’s Fair Housing laws.”

In March of 2018, Secretary Carson filed a fair housing charge against Facebook for discriminatory practices in its advertising, which led to policy changes at the social media network.

Liz Dominguez is RISMedia’s senior online editor. Email her your real estate news ideas to ldominguez@rismedia.com.

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