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Meta agreed to Settle Lawsuit over Housing Discrimination through Ad Targeting

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Facebook's Parent company Meta has agreed to settle a lawsuit with the US Government. The company was charged with encouraging, enabling and causing housing discrimination through ad targeting.


Housing Discrimination through Ad Targeting


According to a 2019 report by Engadget, The Department of Housing and Urban Development charged Facebook with violating the Fair Housing Act. The Department claimed that the company had encouraged, enabled and caused housing discrimination through ad targeting. The charge followed a complaint the department filed against Facebook in August. HUD Secretary Ben Carson said, "Facebook is discriminating against people based upon who they are and where they live," He added "Using a computer to limit a person's housing choices can be just as discriminatory as slamming a door in someone's face."


The agreement


Meta has agreed to change its ad targeting technology. The company has also agreed to and pay $115,000 to settle US government allegations.

US Attorney Damian Williams said, "Because of this ground-breaking lawsuit, Meta will -- for the first time -- change its ad delivery system to address algorithmic discrimination," He added "But if Meta fails to demonstrate that it has sufficiently changed its delivery system to guard against algorithmic bias, this office will proceed with the litigation,"

Assistant Attorney General, Kristen Clarke said, "As technology rapidly evolves, companies like Meta have a responsibility to ensure their algorithmic tools are not used in a discriminatory manner," He added, " The Justice Department is committed to holding Meta and other technology companies accountable when they abuse algorithms in ways that unlawfully harm marginalized communities,"

Meta has promised to, "introduce a new method designed to make sure the audience that ends up seeing a housing ad more closely reflects the eligible targeted audience for that ad."

Meta on Tuesday in a blog post said that it is planning to expand the new system to employment and credit advertising. "Discrimination in housing, employment and credit is a deep-rooted problem with a long history in the U.S., and we are committed to broadening opportunities for marginalized communities in these spaces and others,"

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