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Facebook’s targeted ads are discriminatory, should be held liable: US DoJ

The United States Department of Justice has sided with (pdf) four housing alliances and housing groups after they accused Facebook of being discriminatory — by excluding people based on sex, race, gender, Zip code or religion - through its targeted ads. These practices were allegedly used by landlords and property dealers on the platform. The National Fair Housing Alliance, Fair Housing Justice Center Inc, Housing Opportunities Project for Excellence Inc and Fair Housing Council of Greater San Antonio filed the complaint against Facebook. The US Housing and Urban Development (HUD) department has now filed a complaint against Facebook, accusing the company of housing discrimination and clear violation of the federal fair housing laws, implemented as part of the Civil Rights Act 1968. The complaint by the HUD came on the same day the DoJ targeted Facebook on similar issues. Fair housing activists have told a district court in the US that people have been discriminated even on whether the person had English as Second Language or a Disabled Parking Permit. Facebook's ad tools leaving out certain criteria The crux of the complaint is that Facebook's targeted advertising tools such as "Boosts" and "Ad Manager" have enabled discrimination by providing property owners and dealers with a mechanism to include some and exclude others. These tools are popularly used to target or narrow down ads and create a custom target audience, thus including or excluding people who will see the ad (on their News feeds) based on the platter of information collected by…

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