MAR Legal Hotline

Notes from the MAR Legal Hotline – Facebook Advertising

Q.  I’ve heard that Facebook is under a lot of scrutiny lately for enabling housing discrimination – can I still advertise my listings on Facebook?

A.  Yes, you can still advertise your real estate business and specific listings using Facebook’s advertising platform; however, you must remain cognizant of the Fair Housing Act, as well as the Massachusetts laws and Regulations that govern real estate advertisements.  Facebook offers the opportunity to target ads to specific groups of people based upon criteria like age and gender.  While this certainly seems like a tempting feature to focus on advertisement’s audience, by excluding individuals that do not fall within the selected categories, you may be in violation of the Fair Housing Act, as well as state anti-discrimination laws and the Realtor Code of Ethics.  Massachusetts prohibits discrimination based on the following:  race, color, religious creed, national origina, ancestery, sec, age, handicap (disability), sexual harassment, sexual orientation, marital status, children, retaliation, veteran status, or public assistance.  Keep in mind when advertising, on social media or otherwise, describe to property, not people and make sure all advertisements include the name of the broker!