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Facebook Charged with Housing Discrimination through Filtered Advertising

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Facebook is charged yet again with allowing housing discrimination through their advertisements. The company claims they are “surprised” with this charge because they had agreed to a $5 million settlement to close several lawsuits involving the same matter last week, according to CNN.

The Fair Housing Act of 1968 strictly prohibits any print or published advertisement, notice or statement to discriminate based on race, color, religion, sex, or background. ABC News reports that in 2016, ProPublica found that Facebook began using an ethnic filtering tool that could exclude African Americans, Asian Americans, and Hispanics from seeing housing ads. Facebook had previously claimed that their tool did not just refine searches based on ethnic background but also on the types of posts that users liked.

“Facebook is discriminating against people based upon who they are and where they live,” said Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson in a statement. “HUD is clear on their stance that the law does not exempt Facebook just because it is a social media technology.”

Although Facebook asserts that their policies do not allow advertisers to employ their tools for any bias, the HUD upholds that the Fair Housing Act is being violated.

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