Digital marketing is an ever-changing industry. We at GTMA are pioneers in online advertising for multifamily, residential real estate and hospitality. Experience has shown us that, as important as it is to be ever-evolving and meet these almost daily changes to our industry, sometimes you just have to stick to your guns. Some important news just came out regarding fair housing and a certain social network that should be familiar to us all. The National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) has filed a lawsuit against Facebook alleging that they are not following fair housing laws. Regardless of the merit of this lawsuit or its outcome, GTMA would like to take a moment to remind you that your campaigns are run with integrity and are fully compliant with fair housing regulations.
First, some background.
The investigative journalists at ProPublica, as part of a broader effort to track the use (and potential misuse) of the personal data users share with social networks, created fake ads for housing that excluded specific users, such as African Americans, mothers of high school kids, people interested in wheelchair ramps, Jews, expats from Argentina and Spanish speakers. “ProPublica generally forbids impersonation in news gathering,” they claim, though they apparently made an exception in this case.
The NFHA joined ProPublica and deployed more fake ads from inauthentic accounts. They submitted dozens of housing advertisements that were not compliant with fair housing laws or with Facebook’s own rules. NFHA was testing Facebook to see if it was possible to purchase housing ads that discriminated against protected categories of people. In what Facebook describes as “a failure in our enforcement” and a failure in the automated systems Facebook has put in place to monitor discriminatory practices, the bogus ads went live. NFHA filed the lawsuit soon after.
“All GTMA Associates, Specialists and Managers review and agree to abide by Fair Housing Laws and Facebook’s anti-discrimination guidelines during their onboarding and training,” assures Christian Swanson, GTMA’s Director of Media Strategy. Agencies or individuals that haven’t gone through the self-certification process, as GTMA has, must have their ads checked by Facebook for compliance with fair housing laws each time they submit a housing-related Facebook ad.
However you measure it, GTMA does not practice any form of exclusionary targeting that would violate state and federal law or Facebook’s rules. Never has. Never will. That’s because, in an industry defined by constant change, we’re guided by a set of core values that provide structure and direction for everything we do. Those values include integrity and authenticity, meaning that no matter the social media platform or the concerns of the current news cycle, we’ll always do the job honestly and with the strong moral principles that are practiced daily at our offices.
Because a job well-done isn’t enough at GTMA. With an unwavering commitment to our core values, we promise to do good, too.