USA: Govt. files lawsuit against Facebook for alleged discrimination by preventing people from seeing certain adverts based on race, religion & nationality

Author: Ellen Mcgirt, Fortune (USA), Published on: 2 April 2019

"Facebook Faces Federal Lawsuit", 28 Mar 2019

The Department of Housing and Urban Development sued Facebook for violations of the federal Fair Housing Act, alleging that the platform allows advertisers to prevent people from seeing certain ads based on race, religion and national origin.

Further, the lawsuit says the platform itself also uses its data-mining capability to determine which of its users can see specific ads.

“Facebook is discriminating against people based upon who they are and where they live,” HUD Secretary Ben Carson said in a statement. “Using a computer to limit a person’s housing choices can be just as discriminatory as slamming a door in someone’s face.”...

These practices, which are not subtle, were explored in detail as part of a ProPublica investigation published in October 2016. Their report, complete with screenshots, showed how advertisers could easily exclude specific renters or home buyers based on “ethnic affinities.”

“When we showed Facebook’s racial exclusion options to a prominent civil rights lawyer John Relman, he gasped and said, ‘This is horrifying. This is massively illegal. This is about as blatant a violation of the federal Fair Housing Act as one can find,’” they reported...

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Related companies: Facebook