HUD hits Facebook with housing discrimination complaint

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The Division of Housing and City Growth is accusing Fb of violating the Honest Housing Act.

The company filed a proper grievance towards the social media firm on Friday, alleging that it permits landlords and residential sellers to make use of focused Fb (FB) adverts to discriminate towards potential patrons or tenants on the idea of race, intercourse, faith, incapacity and different traits.

“When Fb makes use of the huge quantity of private knowledge it collects to assist advertisers to discriminate, it is the identical as slamming the door in somebody’s face,” Anna María Farías, assistant secretary for truthful housing and equal alternative, mentioned in a press release.

“There isn’t a place for discrimination on Fb; it is strictly prohibited in our insurance policies,” a Fb spokesperson mentioned in a press release. “Over the previous 12 months we have strengthened our methods to additional defend towards misuse… and we’ll proceed working straight with HUD to deal with their considerations.”

The federal Honest Housing Act prohibits house rental and sale ads from discriminating “based mostly on race, coloration, faith, intercourse, handicap, familial standing, or nationwide origin.”

In its grievance, the federal housing company outlined a number of methods landlords or sellers can use Fb adverts to do exactly that. They might, for instance, determine to indicate the adverts to solely males, or be certain that their adverts do not seem within the feeds of anybody with “accessibility” listed as an curiosity.

The Nationwide Honest Housing Alliance made the identical argument in a lawsuit towards the social media firm. The federal swimsuit, filed in March in New York Metropolis, claims that Fb’s promoting instruments proceed to permit entrepreneurs to exclude girls and households with kids from seeing sure housing adverts.

— CNN’s Seth Fiegerman contributed to this report.

CNNMoney (New York) First printed August 17, 2018: 5:23 PM ET

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