US agency says Facebook ads let landlords discriminate

WION Web Team
New Delhi, Delhi, India Published: Aug 18, 2018, 08:22 AM(IST)

File photo: Facebook logo. Photograph:( Reuters )

The US agency is alleging that Facebook's advertising tool allows landlord and real estate brokers to discriminate againt audience. 

The US Department of Housing and Urban Development said in an administrative complaint this week that Facebook violated the Fair Housing Act because its targeting systems allow advertisers to exclude certain audiences, such as families with young children or disabled people, from seeing housing ads.

A formal complaint filed by HUD said that Facebook advertisers were able to target offers of homes available for rent or sale based on factors such as race, religion, gender, nationality, or disabilities.

"When Facebook uses the vast amount of personal data it collects to help advertisers to discriminate, it's the same as slamming the door in someone's face," Anna Maria Farias, HUD's assistant secretary for fair housing and equal opportunity, said in a release.

Facebook said the company doesn't allow discrimination and has strengthened its systems over the past year to prevent misuse. The company added that it is working directly with HUD to address its concerns. 
Facebook has an opportunity to respond to the HUD complaint before the agency determines whether to file formal charges.

"There is no place for discrimination on Facebook," the spokesman said.

"We're aware of the statement of interest filed and will respond in court and we’ll continue working directly with HUD to address their concerns."

The formal complaint came after a HUD investigation confirmed that advertisers on Facebook could exclude categories such as people who expressed interest in assistance dogs, parenting, China, or the Bible, according to the agency.

(With inputs from AFP)

Read in App