Fair Housing Facebook Ads

Facebook has changed the way it allows real estate businesses to use its platform to advertise. Changes rolled out in the summer of 2019 and will have been enforced starting in August. The changes are designed to prevent discrimination in the housing sector and will have an impact on anyone looking to run paid ads on the platform, in terms of performance and potential liability. In August 2019 enforcement of the new rules began and beginning in early 2020 Facebook will have the ability to apply restrictions to already existing campaigns and new campaigns.

Special Ad Category

Facebook has a special ad category that will cover content related to housing, employment, and credit known as HEC. The policy requires anyone running an HEC ad to self-identify their ads during the campaign creation. This can be done in the ads manager. Beyond listing ads, any ad related to real estate related services or from brands dedicated to the real estate industry will be considered within a Special Ad Category. An example of that is if an agent is promoting a real estate seminar for first time buyers could be considered a housing ad, even though no specific home or community is being featured.


According to Fair Housing laws advertisers must not discriminate against candidates for housing based on age, race, gender and other protected segments. ​There are no exceptions for this rule, even if you’re advertising for a senior community that’s only eligible to consumers over the age of 55. Facebook’s algorithm will attempt to find the people within your target audience that are most likely to take your defined result.


During campaign creation, advertisers can choose to target or exclude audience members based on their interests. These interests are determined by Facebook’s data that is collected from user profiles, interactions and group membership. Ads in the Housing special ad category have smaller options for targeting to limit the potential for discrimination. Any interest related to gender, religion, ethnicity, etc. have been removed.


Learn the new ruler and do not even try to place ads that may appear to eliminate “Protected Groups” from seeing your Ad. You never know what information “Big Brother” might obtain.

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