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Facebook is known for its sophisticated ad targeting that lets brands get super-targeted in how they buy ads, but a possible flaw in the ad-buying system discovered by ProPublica highlights an option that lets brands segment their ad buys to specific ethnicities.
In a ProPublica piece about Facebook's "ethnic affinity" ad-targeting option, the publication reports advertisers can choose to exclude users with specific races from seeing ads. ProPublica purchased an event ad that targeted home owners through the social network and was given the option to pick which ethnicities—African American, Asian American or Hispanic—to target in the campaign.