Less than a week after Facebook came under fire for its contentious ad practices, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has filed charges on the tech giant over discrimination in housing ads.
HUD is claiming that Facebook's usage of targeted marketing breaks the Fair Real Estate Act by "encouraging, permitting, and triggering" unlawful prejudice by restricting who can see real estate ads.
The charge comes from research introduced last year. Multiple external examinations have learned that Facebook's advertisement targeting abilities let marketers overlook people by gender, race, ethnic background and other categories.
HUD Secretary Ben Carson noted, “Facebook is discriminating against people based upon who they are and where they live,” adding that “Using a computer to limit a person’s housing choices can be just as discriminatory as slamming a door in someone’s face.”
The legal dispute with HUD adds to Facebook's expanding list of impediments in Washington. The company is currently more than a year into a Federal Trade Commission investigation discerning its supposed recurred failures to safeguard user information. Lawmakers of both parties regularly attack the business for a range of concerns, including its data practices, struggles to create a diverse workforce, and the growth of fabricated information and hate speech on its platforms.
Facebook abandons targeting in real estate advertisements
The issue of prejudice in marketing is nothing new for Facebook. Just recently, the social media platform eliminated the option to target based upon age, sex and zip code in reaction to growing objection. Related: Chinese Onshore Markets Bracing For $46B Boost
Furthermore, Facebook has announced that it will develop a tool that can be employed to see targeted property ads, a change similar to a database the business formed after the debate over targeted political ads. The ACLU explained in a declaration that the company has agreed to consult with plaintiffs about its progress frequently, and will require advertisers to comply with anti-discrimination laws.
CEO of Facebook's News Space Sheryl Sandberg stated, "Our job is to make sure these benefits continue while also making sure that our ads tools aren’t misused. There is a long history of discrimination in the areas of housing, employment and credit, and this harmful behavior should not happen through Facebook ads."
By Michael Kern for Safehaven.com