Facebook is facing issues regarding housing advertisements. The federal government has claimed that the social media site has violated the Fair Housing Act. It has discriminated ads against certain groups of interests. This had put facebook into trouble.
The US HUD (Housing and Urban Development) filed its complaint against the company’s advertising policies in the last week. Also, some nonprofit and investigative reporting groups have been claiming this practice from the last two years. In 2016, a ProPublica investigation made a claim regarding housing advertisements’ discrimination on the basis of race. A year later, a followup investigation found that the same discrimination continue to exist. Facebook had recently updated its advertising policies, but the discrimination of the ads remains the same.
So, National Fair Housing Alliance along with the other groups filed a case against the company in federal court in March. The claim suggests that the company had violated the 1968 law by allowing advertisers to discriminate. Earlier, the case was “without merit”, but in July, it signed an agreement with the state of Washington to eliminate the ability of advertisers to prohibit certain groups. These certain groups include religion, race, sexual orientation, and many more.
The federal complaint proclaims that Facebook allows discrimination
The federal government’s complaint suggests that Facebook knowingly allows advertisers to create discrimination. Advertisers restrict housing-related ads on the basis of religion, national origin, color, race, etc. Also, Facebook’s ad targeting tools provides an ability to advertisers to select preferences from the discriminatory options. Along with it, Facebook delivers housing-related ads unlawfully to specific users and not others on the basis of users’ characteristics.
The company allows discrimination based on the gender of the user. It does not display specific ads to either male or female. Also, it does not display ads to users whose interests are listed as ‘assistance dog’, accessibility’, mobility scooter’, ‘child care’, or ‘deaf culture’.
According to HUD, this practice exists throughout the United States, and has implied on a large number of users. A Facebook spokesperson proclaimed about non-discrimination policy of facebook. Its policies have no place for discrimination. Also, they are constantly working on their systems to avoid misuse of the features. Now, the company will respond in court and will look to reach HUD directly for solving the issue.