Facebook hit with housing discrimination charge by US government

first_img Facebook said it has been trying to work with HUD to prevent 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,” a company spokesperson said in an emailed statement.The social media giant also said that it had reached “historic agreements” with the National Fair Housing Alliance, the ACLU and other advocacy groups on changes to its advertising system. The charge marks the latest incident that calls into question how Facebook conducts its business. It’s been under fire over how it collects user data for the past year.Here is HUD’s filing: Tags 13 1:31 “Facebook is discriminating against people based upon who they are and where they live,” HUD Secretary Ben Carson says. Omar Marques/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images The US Department of Housing and Urban Development charged Facebook on Thursday with allegedly violating the Fair Housing Act through targeted ads.The charge follows an August 2018 complaint that alleged the social network lets landlords and home sellers engage in housing discrimination through advertising that can exclude people based on race, national origin, religion, gender or disability.”Facebook is discriminating against people based upon who they are and where they live,” HUD Secretary Ben Carson said in a statement. “Using a computer to limit a person’s housing choices can be just as discriminatory as slamming a door in someone’s face.”The initial complaint came after a ProPublica investigation in 2016 showed that housing advertisements could be targeted at and away from specific groups. ProPublica followed up a year later, showing that the targeting hadn’t stopped.According to HUD’s lawsuit, Facebook allowed advertisers to exclude people who were born outside the US, non-Christians, interested in accessibility issues or interested in Latino culture. HUD also accuses Facebook of allowing advertisers to exclude people based on their neighborhoods or whether they have children.”Even as we confront new technologies, the fair housing laws enacted over half a century ago remain clear — discrimination in housing-related advertising is against the law,” HUD general counsel Paul Compton said in a statement. “Just because a process to deliver advertising is opaque and complex doesn’t mean that it exempts Facebook and others from our scrutiny and the law of the land.” Now playing: Watch this: Share your voicecenter_img See how much time you’re wasting on Facebook Comments First published at 5:11 a.m. PT.Updates, 6:16 a.m. and 7:45 a.m.: Adds more details, Facebook’s comment and HUD’s filing. Internet Services Politics Facebooklast_img read more

Facebook expands tool that lets you investigate ads

first_img 14 Photos 0 Facebook Internet Services Tech Industry Post a comment Smart displays let Amazon, Facebook, Google show you answers to your questions Facebook lets you search for ads by page now instead of just keywords. Screenshot by Queenie Wong/CNET Facebook wants to make it easier for you to learn about the ads that flow through the world’s largest social network. On Thursday, the tech giant said it is expanding a public database that will allow people to search for and find information about political ads or those related to issues of national importance in certain countries. Now that database, which is changing its name from the Ad Archive in the US to the Ad Library, will also show all active ads that run on specific Facebook pages. Facebook pages, which look similar to but are separate from individuals’ profiles, are how businesses, groups and public figures set themselves up on the social network. Previously, Facebook users had to visit a page’s “info and ads” section to find the advertisements run by that page. Now people who visit the Ad Library can search for ads by page instead of just keywords. They’ll also be able to report an ad within the Ad Library for violating the social network’s rules. “Shining a brighter light on advertising and Pages on Facebook holds us and advertisers more accountable, which is good for people and businesses,” Satwik Shukla, Facebook’s product manager, said in a blog post. Facebook launched new ad transparency tools last year after facing criticism that the company did little to stop foreign entities from meddling in the 2016 US presidential election. The social network discovered that Russian trolls purchased more than 3,000 ads between 2015 to 2017 to sow discord before and after the election. Share your voice Now playing: Watch this: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter: What’s your relationship… 5:14 Tags Since then, Facebook has been beefing up its efforts to give people more information about ads shown on its site. People who search for political ads are able to see who paid for an ad, how much money an organization spent on an ad, who saw the ad and how many views the ad received.  But Facebook’s ad transparency efforts also ran into road bumps. In May, the company kicked in new rules for political and issue ads, requiring advertisers who run those ads to verify their identity and addresses.Some businesses have complained that Facebook has misclassified their ads as political or related to an issue of national importance. Media outlets such as Vice News and Business Insider also found loopholes, showing how the tool could be abused. The publications got approval to publish ads they identified as having been paid for by parties such as Vice President Mike Pence, Cambridge Analytica, the Islamic State and all 100 US senators. Lawmakers then called on Facebook to fix their ad transparency tool. Facebook announced other changes to increase ad transparency.People who visit the Ad Library will be able to check when a Facebook page was created, if it merged with other pages or changed its name. If the Facebook page with a large audience runs political or issues ads in countries where the transparency tool is available, you’ll also see the page manager’s location. This information will also be available in a new section called “page transparency” within Facebook pages.The company is also expanding access to data from the Ad Library so others can analyze political or issues ads. The social network no longer requires certain news publishers to verify their identities or label their ads as political or related to an issue of national importance. In mid-May, Facebook will also be updating a report about political and issue ads on a daily basis instead of weekly. Facebook’s political ad transparency tools first launched in the US, but rolled out to other countries including the UK, Brazil, India, Ukraine and Israel. Facebook also plans to introduce these tools in the EU ahead of the European Parliament election in May. By the end of June, Facebook said it will launch these tools globally.  last_img read more