Facebook to curb discrimination in housing, job ads | newkerala.com #115551

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On top of a almost $5 million in payments, Facebook agreed to prohibit those posting ads for housing, employment and credit on its namesake platform and Instagram from targeting individual users by gender, age and zip code.

Under the settlement, Facebook will take proactive steps to prevent advertisers from discrimination when sending job, housing or credit ads to users of Facebook, Instagram and Messenger.

Facebook on Tuesday agreed to overhaul its lucrative targeted advertising system to settle accusations that landlords, lenders, and employers use the platform to discriminate against African-Americans, women, seniors, people with disabilities, and others. "They should never be used to exclude or harm individuals".

The ad reforms follow litigation filed previous year by the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA), the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Communication Workers of America (CWA) and other private parties, calling on the company to build stronger protections against abuse. The ads will be vetted by Facebook for compliance, using both human staff and automation, the company said.

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A number of articles were published over the last two years relating to how Facebook enabled advertisers to exclude certain minorities from various ads, based on race, age and sex.

After the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook removed more than 5,000 ad targeting options to avoid discrimination. The Justice Department allowed a lawsuit to proceed past year over Facebook's objections, arguing that the company can be held liable for ad-targeting tools that deprive people of housing offers.

As part of the settlement, Facebook will pay $5 million and implement new protocols that are created to prevent housing, employment and credit-related advertisers from targeting-or avoiding targeting-certain groups of people based on characteristics, including race, sex, religion and age.

"One of our top priorities is protecting people from discrimination on Facebook", said COO Sheryl Sandberg. HUD added that Facebook also allows advertisers to set preferences by offering discriminatory options, thus limiting housing options for the protected classes under the Fair Housing Act.

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But advertisers could still find a way to use the filters through Facebook's ad targeting system. "Millions of people view Facebook's ads each day", it reads. "For a broker with a listing in Brooklyn, a 15-mile radius minimum to target their open house means they'll reach most of New York City versus the real potential buyers closer to the listing".

"We're building a tool so you can search for and view all current housing ads in the USA targeted to different places across the country, regardless of whether the ads are shown to you", she continued.

However, the company still faces an administrative complaint filed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in August over the housing ads issue.

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