US accuses Facebook of racial discrimination in housing advertisements

File Reuters

UNITED STATES (VOP TODAY NEWS) — The Trump administration has accused Facebook of selling ads that target certain segments and discriminate on the basis of race, in violation of the Fair Housing Act in the United States.

The US Department of Housing and Urban Development said in its civil indictment that Facebook had identified who could see housing announcements based on the motherland, religion, marital status, gender and disability, and the ministry was seeking compensation for some damage.

Facebook said it was working with the ministry to remove the points of concern and was surprised by the decision to charge, despite taking “big steps” to prevent discriminatory ads across its platforms.

The company also said the government “insisted on looking at sensitive information – such as user data – without taking adequate precautions,” adding that she wanted to provide mass reports, not personal information.

The Ministry of Housing says Facebook extracts data from its users and then employs automated learning to predict their reactions to advertising by means of techniques that may put some in segments according to certain characteristics such as race.

A ministry spokesman declined to comment on the details of the discussions.
Last week, Facebook agreed to modify its pay-as-you-go platform with civil rights groups that have filed five separate lawsuits accusing the company of allowing discrimination in its ads.

US law, including the Fair Housing Act, prohibits the publication of certain types of advertisements – including online advertising – if they involve a preference based on race, religion, sex or other classifications.

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