In solution to HUD’s complaint, Facebook will probably be cutting some 5,000 ad targeting choices to avoid claims of discrimination. In the public statement Tuesday, Facebook said, “While these options are included in legitimate approaches to reach people serious about a particular products, we think minimizing the chance of abuse is a bit more important. This includes limiting the capacity for advertisers to exclude audiences that report to attributes like ethnicity or religion.”
According to the recent HUD complaint, Facebook unlawfully discriminates by enabling advertisers to restrict which Facebook users receive housing-related ads based upon race, color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin, and disability. Facebook mines extensive user data and classifies its users in accordance with protected characteristics. Facebook’s ad targeting tools then invite advertisers to specific unlawful preferences by suggesting discriminatory options, and Facebook effectuates the delivery of housing-related ads to certain users and never others dependant on those users’ actual or imputed protected traits.
As of July 24, 2018, Facebook’s ad targeting tools enable advertisers of housing and housing-related services to discriminate inside the following non-exhaustive list of ways:
- Facebook enables advertisers to discriminate in accordance with sex by showing ads only to men.
- Facebook enables advertisers to discriminate according to disability by not showing ads to users whom Facebook categorizes as considering “assistance dog,” “mobility scooter,” “accessibility” or “deaf culture.”
- Facebook enables advertisers to discriminate based upon familial status by not showing ads to users whom Facebook categorizes as keen on “child care” or “parenting,” or by showing ads merely to users with children over a specified age.
- Facebook enables advertisers to discriminate dependant on religion by showing ads simply to users whom Facebook categorizes as serious about the “Christian Church,” “Jesus,” “Christ” as well as “Bible.”
- Facebook enables advertisers to discriminate depending on national origin by not showing ads to users whom Facebook categorizes as serious about “Latin America,” “Southeast Asia,” “China,” “Honduras,” “Somalia,” the “Hispanic National Bar Association” or “Mundo.”
- Facebook enables advertisers to discriminate based on race and color by drawing a red line around majority-minority zipcodes rather than showing ads to users who reside in those zip.
Facebook markets its ad targeting platform to be a useful gizmo for providers of housing- related services. One example is, Facebook promotes its ad targeting platform with “success stories” for finding “the right homeowners,” “reaching buyers,” “attracting renters” and “personalizing property ads.” See www.facebook.com/business/success/ quadrant-homes (visited Aug. 8, 2018); www.facebook.com/business/success/homesnap (visited Aug. 8, 2018); www.facebook.com/business/success/apartment-list (visited Aug. 8, 2018).
The alleged policies and practices of Facebook violate the Fair Housing Act based upon race, color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin, and disability.
According to Housingwire.com, Facebook responded saying that discrimination just isn’t allowed on its site and that it offers react to HUD’s allegations in the court.
“There isn’t location for discrimination on Facebook; it’s strictly dissalowed our policies,” a Facebook spokesperson said within a statement offered to HousingWire. “Over the past year, we’ve strengthened our systems to help expand force away misuse. We’re mindful of the statement useful filed and may respond essential, and we’ll continue working directly with HUD to treat their concerns.”
The the second step in the way is a formal investigation, after which you can HUD might want to file an elegant control over discrimination contrary to the site.