Fed's File Complaint Against Facebook of Enabling Housing Discrimination
By Ben Lane @ Housing Wire
August 22, 2018

After months of investigations into Facebook’s ad practices, HUD officially filed a housing discrimination complaint against the social media giant, alleging that the site allows advertisers to purposefully exclude certain people from seeing housing ads based on a number of factors that violate the Fair Housing Act.

According to HUD, Facebook allows advertisers to control which users receive housing-related ads based upon the person’s race, color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin, disability, and/or ZIP code.

Key Takeaways

  • Display housing ads either only to men or women
  • Not show ads to Facebook users interested in an “assistance dog,” “mobility scooter,” “accessibility” or “deaf culture”
  • Not show ads to users whom Facebook categorizes as interested in “child care” or “parenting,” or show ads only to users with children above a specified age
  • To display/not display ads to users whom Facebook categorizes as interested in a particular place of worship, religion or tenet, such as the “Christian Church,” “Sikhism,” “Hinduism,” or the “Bible”
  • Not show ads to users whom Facebook categorizes as interested in “Latin America,” “Canada,” “Southeast Asia,” “China,” “Honduras,” or “Somal
  • Draw a red line around ZIP codes and then not display ads to Facebook users who live in specific ZIP codes

Additionally, the HUD complaint alleged that Facebook promotes its housing advertising targeting platform with “success stories” for finding “the perfect homeowners,” “reaching home buyers,” “attracting renters” and “personalizing property ads.”

In a statement provided to HousingWire, Facebook said that it does not allow discrimination on its site and will continue to work with HUD on the matter.

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