Facebook's ad tools discriminate based on race, religion, sex, others: Report

Apparently, Facebook claims that it eliminated the ad tool in question two years ago.

It’s hard to tell anymore if Facebook is just fooling us or itself into believing that nobody knows of its ways? In a fresh complaint, the social media giant has been accused of using targeting tools for certain kinds of advertisements, which was discriminating between users based on their gender, race, religion, and familial status.

According to a report by The Next Web, Facebook has been hit with a complaint from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), whereby it has been accused of “allowing advertisers to discriminate against users searching for property”, consequently limiting people’s housing options.

Representative image.

Representative image.

Basically, the ad tools being allegedly used by Facebook are allowing advertisers to discriminate against potential renters or buyers so that only certain groups of people are able to see the ads. For instance, if I am single and earn below Rs 1,00,000, the expensive 8-digit properties won’t even show up in my search.

The housing authority says this is a huge violation of the Fair Housing Act. It was exactly this kind of discrimination and targeting that contributed so heavily to Donald Trump's controversial election as POTUS.

This is despite the fact that two years ago, Facebook claimed to have eliminated the very tool in question. “We will disable the use of ethnic affinity marketing for ads that we identify as offering housing, employment, or credit. There are many non-discriminatory uses of our ethnic affinity solution in these areas, but we have decided that we can best guard against discrimination by suspending these types of ads,” Facebook said in 2016.

Tech2 has reached out to Facebook to know more about the use of the allegedly discriminatory tool still being used on the platform.

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