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Why Does Facebook's Rules Page Link to Liberal Advocacy Groups?

With 2.23 billion active users, Facebook is an advertiser's dream. On Tuesday, Facebook sent advertisers an alert, urging them to review the social media giant's "Non-Discrimination Policy." That rules policy links to liberal activist groups, placing them in a list of sources to help explain what kind of discrimination is legally prohibited.

On Tuesday, Facebook advertisers received a notice urging them to "Please Review Our Non-Discrimination Policy."

Facebook screenshot.

If advertisers click the "Review Policy" button, they will see a large page entitled, "To help maintain the integrity of Facebook advertising, please review and accept our non-discrimination policy."

"Facebook's Advertising Policies prohibit advertisers from using our ads products to discriminate against individuals or groups of people," the rules page explains. "Ads are discriminatory when they deny opportunities to individuals or groups of people based on certain personal attributes such as race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, family/marital status, disability or medical or genetic condition."

Facebook screenshot.

Facebook screenshot.

The page prompts users to certify that they "reviewed and will abide by our Advertising Policies and all applicable laws." Before accepting, it would be wise for users to click on the button to "Learn more about our Non-Discrimination Policy."

If an advertiser clicks on that button, he or she will see the original policy (available here) which lists various resources to learn more about illegal discrimination.

Facebook screenshot.

According to the policy, "advertisers may not (1) use our audience selection tools to (a) wrongfully target specific groups of people for advertising (see Advertising Policy 7.1 on Targeting), or (b) wrongfully exclude specific groups of people from seeing their ads; or (2) include discriminatory content in their ads. Advertisers are also required to comply with applicable laws that prohibit discrimination (see Advertising Policy 4.2 on Illegal Products or Services)."

The page concludes with a list of organizations revealing the kinds of applicable laws "that prohibit discriminating against groups of people in connection with, for example, offers of housing, employment, and credit." Below this list, Facebook includes a disclaimer that "this guide is not a substitute for legal advice."

The list includes U.S. government agencies tasked with preventing discrimination, including the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Two groups do not fit with the others however. Along with HUD and EEOC, Facebook lists the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Leadership Conferences on Civil and Human Rights, both liberal advocacy organizations. It also links to the National Fair Housing Alliance's "Fair Housing Resource Center," a page including PSAs from HUD.

Facebook's rules page links to the home pages for ACLU and the Leadership Conference (rather than specific reference pages), suggesting a general endorsement for these activist organizations. Both websites urge people to action for liberal causes.