Courthouse News Service: Fair-housing groups nail Facebook on virtual redlining

Courthouse News Service, March 27, 2018: Fair-housing groups nail Facebook on virtual redlining

Represented by the firm Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady, the National Fair Housing Alliance and three other groups say Facebook faces the same obligations as any other platform to deny discriminatory advertising.

Rather than weeding it out, however, the complaint says Facebook encourages it, offering advertising tools to realtors that let them cater their ads for specific audiences while excluding protected groups.

To test the theory, according to the complaint, the four organizations created dozens of fictitious ads for supposed properties in New York, Washington, D.C., Miami and San Antonio. The groups found that Facebook allowed advertisers to exclude families with children or women from seeing the housing ads. They were also able to exclude users with interests in disabilities or national origin based on their Facebook profile.

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