Facebook Now Being Sued By Government For Discrimination
Facebook is in the news again for its ad policies and possible violations to the Fair Housing Act.
HUD secretary, Ben Carson said in a statement, “Facebook is discriminating against people based upon who they are and where they live. Using a computer to limit a person’s housing choices can be just as discriminatory as slamming a door in someone’s face.”
According to CNBC,
The Department of Housing and Urban Development sued Facebook on Thursday over what it claims are “discriminatory” advertising practices.
The agency is seeking damages for any person who was harmed by Facebook’s advertising policies, which until recently allowed employers and landlords to limit their audiences on the basis of race, ethnicity or gender. Facebook settled a lawsuit with the ACLU over the practice last week and overhauled its systems as a result.
“[Facebook] holds out its advertising platform as a powerful resource for advertisers in many industries, including housing and housing-related services,” the complaint says. But, “because of the way [Facebook] designed its advertising platform, ads for housing and housing-related services are shown to large audiences that are severely biased.
You can find the full complaint below:
HUD v Facebook by on Scribd
The New York Times adds,
The lawsuit coincides with a broader push by civil rights groups to scrutinize whether big technology companies are reinforcing real-world biases online by using algorithms to identify and target specific groups of users. Facebook has drawn particular attention since it became clear that its ad-targeting technology, which helps marketers narrowly focus their efforts to reach potential customers, was among the Russian government’s primary tools for meddling in the 2016 presidential election by exploiting racial and other rifts in the United States.
The Silicon Valley company tried to counter the furor over its role in the 2016 race by taking steps to prevent the same thing from happening in the 2018 midterm elections. But its main business continues to be based on identifying and dividing its users by characteristics, and then selling that information to those who hope to capitalize on it.
As someone who knows a thing or two about marketing and other marketers in the real estate niche. I know that agents can target discriminatorily if they chose to do so. If she wanted to only target females they could, if they only wanted to target older married couples they could. If they wanted to target based on religion they could do that as well. That is of course unless Facebook caught some of those and rejected the ads. But targeting females or older married couples isn't' something that they would have rejected.