On Thursday, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) charged Facebook with allegedly encouraging, enabling and causing housing discrimination through its targeted advertising practices. HUD said that Facebook is violating the Fair Housing Act – federal legislation that prohibits discrimination against people seeking to buy or rent a home, getting a mortgage, seeking housing assistance or engaging in other housing-related activities.
HUD Secretary Ben Carson said in a statement: “Facebook is discriminating against people based upon who they are and where they live. Using a computer to limit a person’s housing choices can be just as discriminatory as slamming a door in someone’s face.”
Facebook replied in a statement, saying: “we’re surprised by HUD’s decision, as we’ve been working with them to address their concerns and have taken significant steps to prevent ads discrimination. While we were eager to find a solution, HUD insisted on access to sensitive information — like user data — without adequate safeguards. We’re disappointed by today’s developments, but we’ll continue working with civil rights experts on these issues.”
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