Google has announced some additional targeting restrictions for housing, credit and employment ads, as it works to eliminate discriminatory use of its advanced ad targeting tools.
As per Google:
"[The new] policy will prohibit impacted employment, housing, and credit advertisers from targeting or excluding ads based on gender, age, parental status, marital status, or ZIP Code, in addition to our longstanding policies prohibiting personalization based on sensitive categories like race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, national origin or disability."
Both Google and Facebook have been working to implement restrictions in certain verticals, after various investigations found that their advanced targeting systems can indeed be used for discriminatory - and even illegal - purpose.
Back in 2018, Facebook removed 5,000 of its advanced ad targeting options, while also adding a new advertiser certification process, in order to reduce discriminatory targeting capacity, and prevent misuse.
In March 2019, Facebook actually implemented these same exact restrictions that Google has now announced, so it's taken Google a year to catch up in this respect.
So why has it taken Google so long to follow suit?
"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."
So Google has been developing advanced policies on this front for some time, it just hasn't got around to releasing them. At least now they're in place, which should help to stop these specific misuses of Google audiences.
Google says that it has no definitive timeline for when the new limitations will be fully implemented, but it aims to have it completely rolled out by the end of the year, with the US and Canada a priority.
Google says that it will provide impacted advertisers with more information about the changes may in the coming weeks.