Meta Launches System to Ensure “Equitable” Ad Distribution

Meta recently announced a plan to advance the equitable distribution of ads on Meta technologies, via a new Variance Reduction System (VRS).

Meta Launches System to Ensure “Equitable” Ad Distribution

Meta have been collaborating with the Department of Justice and the US Department of Housing and Urban Development to change its advertisement delivery system to prevent discriminatory advertising in violation of the Fair Housing Act. The VRS ill initially be applied to housing ads, then it will be extended to cover US employment and credit ads over the coming year.

meta launches vrs

Addressing Algorithmic Discrimination

The VRS system is part of the settlement Meta is negotiating with the Department of Justice to resolve a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Both parties have now found agreement on the system’s compliance targets which will address algorithmic discrimination.

Meta will also be subject to court oversight as well as a regular ongoing review of its compliance with the settlement until June in 2026.

Eliminating ‘Unlawful Algorithmic Bias’

Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division said: “This development marks a pivotal step in the Justice Department’s efforts to hold Meta accountable for unlawful algorithmic bias and discriminatory ad delivery on its platforms. The Justice Department will continue to hold Meta accountable by ensuring the Variance Reduction System addresses and eliminates discriminatory delivery of advertisements on its platforms. Federal monitoring of Meta should send a strong signal to other tech companies that they too will be held accountable for failing to address algorithmic discrimination that runs afoul of our civil rights laws.”

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams for the Southern District of New York added: “This groundbreaking resolution sets a new standard for addressing discrimination through machine learning. We appreciate that Meta agreed to work with us toward a resolution of this matter and applaud Meta for taking the first steps towards addressing algorithmic bias. We hope that other companies will follow Meta’s lead in addressing discrimination in their advertising platforms. We will continue to use all of the tools at our disposal to address violations of the Fair Housing Act.”

How the VRS Works

The Variance Reduction System will ‘reduce the variances between the eligible audiences and the actual audiences’, with the Department of Justice satisfied that the new system will ‘substantially’ achieve this target. The system reduces algorithmic bias towards sex and race or ethnicity.

The ongoing review of the system will be conducted by an independent, third-party reviewer, who will investigate and verify whether or not the system is meeting the compliance metrics agreed by both parties.

Image: Depositphotos

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Gabrielle Pickard-Whitehead Gabrielle Pickard-Whitehead is a staff writer for Small Business Trends and has been a member of the team for 7 years. She is based in the United Kingdom and since 2006, Gabrielle has been writing articles, blogs and news pieces for a diverse range of publications and sites. You can read "Gabrielle’s blog here.".