Fair Housing Act Compliance: Targeting Updates

We've got some good news: Back At You is going to help you stay compliant with HUD and the Fair Housing Act. Long story short, Facebook reached an agreement with the National Fair Housing Alliance and several other organizations to change their advertising practices.

Real estate professionals are well aware that fair housing laws apply to all kinds of marketing including newspapers, magazines, postcards, etc… but early 2019 showcased online platforms like Facebook as a big target for compliance infringements. In fact, the National Fair Housing Alliance, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the Communication Workers of America filed litigation against Facebook saying the platform needed to build stronger protections against harmful behavior via their advertising platform.

It’s a no-brainer that social media (including Facebook advertising) has become an integral part of promoting listings and marketing a real estate agent’s business. So how did Facebook update their policies as a result of the litigation, and how does it affect those who work in real estate?

On December 4th, Facebook will be implementing changes to their advertising platform for those that offer housing, employment, or credit opportunities in the United States.

So, what exactly is changing? Facebook already removed thousands of categories from ad targeting related to protected classes such as race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and religion, but they are taking a step further to better protect users on Facebook from discrimination. In order to run an ad, businesses will now be required to specify a “Special Ad Category” and use the limited audience criteria available for these Special Ad Category campaigns. For real estate professionals, there will be a “Housing” category that will have rules in place as a result of the settlement agreement with the National Fair Housing Alliance.

Going forward, the “Housing” ad category will require a 15 mile minimum radius when it comes to location targeting. Targeting specific neighborhoods will no longer be possible to target due to the possibility of discrimination based off of narrow locations, however, targeting WILL still be available by the aforementioned minimum 15 miles as well as city name, designated market area, and state. Worried about advertising your listings? Don’t be! Real estate agents will still be able to run an ad with a pin drop and a required minimum 15 mile radius. This means that agents will still be able to advertise a property to Facebook users in a fairly specific area around it.

Despite the exciting technology that social media offers, Back At You understands that fair housing laws still stand, and discrimination in housing-related advertising is against the law. Fashioning appropriate remedies for today’s technology as it impacts housing laws is a priority for Back At You. We are proud to say that our ad platform will comply with these changes on December 4th and ensure your ads are 100% fair housing compliant. Back At You sees the importance of being mindful of what is written and read online - not just to avoid violations against the Fair Housing Act - but also to celebrate and foster a society where all are equal and welcome.

Back At You is the only social media company that is backed by the National Association of REALTORS®’ REALTOR Benefits® Program, and is a badged Facebook Marketing Partner with ad Technology and FBX specialties. Facebook Marketing Partners are painstakingly vetted not only for capability and expertise but also for a solid track record of success.

At the end of the day, one of the best ways for agents to stay top of mind on social media is by building an organic audience by consistently publishing quality content. Back At You can automate that for you while ALSO keeping you compliant with fair housing laws. If you’re not using our full-service system yet, schedule a call today!

For more information on these changes, check out this relevant news article.