Facebook’s ad-targeting tools help landlords discriminate, says HUD
The Department of Housing and Urban Development has accused Facebook of violating the Fair Housing Act, an accusation that was also made by the National Fair Housing Alliance in March.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development has accused Facebook of violating the Fair Housing Act, which prohibits discrimination in housing on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, familial status, and disability.
On August 13, the agency filed a complaint against Facebook alleging the company enables housing providers to restrict the types of people who receive advertisements for housing services.
The complaint lists six examples of how Facebook’s ad-targeting tools enable discrimination, including the ability to restrict advertising audiences based on zip code and interest in accessibility-related terms like ‘mobility scooter’:
“The Fair Housing Act prohibits housing discrimination including those who might limit or deny housing options with a click of a mouse,” Anna María Farías, HUD’s assistant secretary for fair housing and equal opportunity said in a statement.
“When Facebook uses the vast amount of personal data it collects to help advertisers to discriminate, it’s the same as slamming the door in someone's face.”
The Justice Department issued a statement of interest last week expressing support for the HUD complaint and a similar lawsuit filed in March by the National Fair Housing Alliance, which alleged that Facebook has long been violating the Fair Housing Act.
“Facebook has known for years that its advertising platform violates civil rights laws, but it has refused to change its ways on a voluntary basis,” Diane L. Houk, one of the attorneys representing the alliance, said in a statement. “Facebook is not above the law and must answer these civil rights claims in court.”
Facebook had tried unsuccessfully to have that lawsuit dismissed, arguing it was “without merit, and we will defend ourselves vigorously.” The company said it had been working to prevent housing providers from misusing its micro-targeting tools.
A Facebook spokesperson said in a statement:
“There is no place for discrimination on Facebook; it’s strictly prohibited in our policies. Over the past year we’ve strengthened our systems to further protect against misuse. We're aware of the statement of interest filed and will respond in court; and we’ll continue working directly with HUD to address their concerns.”
The accusations come during a particularly rocky year for Facebook.
In March, The New York Times and the U.K.’s Guardian and Observer revealed that the data firm Cambridge Analytica had been able to harvest the data of millions of Facebook users, sparking outcry from the public and lawmakers in multiple countries.
In July, Facebook lost about $120 billion in market value in the hours after reporting second-quarter earnings that fell short of analysts’ predictions.
Antimicrobial resistance is growing worldwide, rendering many "work horse" medicines ineffective. Without intervention, drug-resistant pathogens could lead to millions of deaths by 2050. Thankfully, companies like Pfizer are taking action.
- Antimicrobial-resistant pathogens are one of the largest threats to global health today.
- As we get older, our immune systems age, increasing our risk of life threatening infections. Without reliable antibiotics, life expectancy could decline for the first time in modern history.
- If antibiotics become ineffective, common infections could result in hospitalization or even death. Life-saving interventions like cancer treatments and organ transplantation would become more difficult, more often resulting in death. Routine procedures would become hard to perform.
- Without intervention, resistant pathogens could result in 10 million annual deaths by 2050.
- By taking a multi-faceted approach—inclusive of adherence to good stewardship, surveillance and responsible manufacturing practices, as well as an emphasis on prevention and treatment—companies like Pfizer are fighting to help curb the spread.
Entrepreneur and author Andrew Horn shares his rules for becoming an assured conversationalist.
- To avoid basing action on external validation, you need to find your "authentic voice" and use it.
- Finding your voice requires asking the right questions of yourself.
- There are 3-5 questions that you would generally want to ask people you are talking to.
Sarco assisted suicide pods come in three different styles, and allow you to die quickly and painlessly. They're even quite beautiful to look at.
Death: it happens to everyone (except, apparently, Keanu Reeves). But while the impoverished and lower-class people of the world die in the same ol' ways—cancer, heart disease, and so forth—the upper classes can choose hip and cool new ways to die. Now, there's an assisted-suicide pod so chic and so stylin' that peeps (young people still say peeps, right?) are calling it the "Tesla" of death... it's called... the Sarco!
Swiss researchers identify new dangers of modern cocaine.
- Cocaine cut with anti-worming adulterant levamisole may cause brain damage.
- Levamisole can thin out the prefrontal cortex and affect cognitive skills.
- Government health programs should encourage testing of cocaine for purity.
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