Facebook share price down 1% after housing bias charges

The social media giant is being sued by the Trump Administration for housing discrimination in its ads.

Facebook share price is down 1% after the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) charged the social media app with housing discrimination in its advertisements.

Why is Facebook being charged with housing discrimination?

Facebook has been charged by HUD for violating the Fair Housing Act. The law protects people from being discriminated against when purchasing a home. HUD said that the social media company is ‘encouraging, enabling, and causing’ landlords to publish ads that show bias against certain potential renters. HUD secretary, Ben Carson, detailed the complaints against Facebook 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,’ said Carson.

‘[Facebook] holds out its advertising platform as a powerful resource for advertisers in many industries, including housing and housing-related services. Because of the way [Facebook] designed its advertising platform, ads for housing and housing-related services are shown to large audiences that are severely biased,’ added Carson.

Facebook has been criticised for its advertising platform that enables landlords to place targeted ads that excluded renters based on factors like age. Investigative journalists also went undercover and successfully placed ads that explicitly excluded African-Americans, Spanish speakers, and other minorities.

Facebook’s response to the charges

Facebook has promised to take more action to ban racist rhetoric on the site, especially after a terrorist attack against Muslim worshipers in a New Zealand mosque was livestreamed. The corporation vowed to eliminate discriminatory advertisements.

‘Last year we eliminated thousands of targeting options that could potentially be misused, and just last week we reached historic agreements with the National Fair Housing Alliance, ACLU, and others that change the way housing, credit, and employment ads can be run on Facebook,’ said a Facebook representative.

‘We're disappointed by today's developments, but we'll continue working with civil rights experts on these issues,’ added the spokesperson.


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