Facebook accused of allowing discrimination in housing ads

Several fair housing organizations sued Facebook on Tuesday, accusing the social media giant of allowing landlords and brokers to discriminate based on gender and family status on its advertising platform. They argue that advertisers could use the personal data of Facebook users to then target ads that could exclude certain populations from viewing them.

The National Fair Housing Alliance and three other housing groups filed the lawsuit, alleging that Facebook’s advertising platform violates the Fair Housing Act, which prohibits discrimination “based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin” on home sale and rental advertisements.

The housing groups that are suing Facebook say they created a fake real estate firm and submitted dozens of housing advertisements to Facebook for review to show that advertisers could exclude users based on their gender, family status, and whether they were interested in “disabled parking permits.”

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