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Charge on Facebook for Discriminating People on the Basis of their Identity

Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment early Thursday

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The total number of vanished posts could be significantly higher, as the very nature of the issue makes it extremely difficult to make a full accounting of what exactly has gone missing over the years. VOA

Facebook was charged with discrimination by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development because of its ad-targeting system.

HUD said Thursday Facebook is allowing advertisers to exclude people based on their neighborhood by drawing a red line around those neighborhoods on a map and giving advertisers the option of showing ads only to men or only to women.

The agency also claims Facebook allowed advertisers to exclude people that the social media company classified as parents; non-American-born; non-Christian; interested in accessibility; interested in Hispanic culture or a wide variety of other interests that closely align with the Fair Housing Act’s protected classes.

HUD, which is pursuing civil charges and potential monetary awards that could run into the millions, said Facebook’s ad platform is “encouraging, enabling, and causing housing discrimination” because it allows advertisers to exclude people who they don’t want to see their ads.

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The claim from HUD comes less than a week after Facebook said it would overhaul its ad-targeting systems to prevent discrimination in housing. Wikimedia

The claim from HUD comes less than a week after Facebook said it would overhaul its ad-targeting systems to prevent discrimination in housing , credit and employment ads as part of a legal settlement with a group that includes the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Fair Housing Alliance and others.

The technology at the heart of the clashes is what has helped turned Facebook into a goliath with annual revenue of close to $56 billion.

It can offer advertisers and groups the ability to direct messages with precision to exactly the crowd that they want to see it. The potential is as breathtaking as it is potentially destructive.

Facebook has taken fire for allowing groups to target groups of people identified as “Jew-haters” and Nazi sympathizers. There remains the fallout from the 2016 election, when, among other things, Facebook allowed fake Russian accounts to buy ads targeting U.S. users to enflame political divisions.

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The technology at the heart of the clashes is what has helped turned Facebook into a goliath with annual revenue of close to $56 billion. Pixabay

The company is wrestling with several government investigations in the U.S. and Europe over its data and privacy practices. A shakeup this month that ended with the departure of some of Facebook’s highest ranking executives raised questions about the company’s direction.

The departures came shortly after CEO Mark Zuckerberg laid out a new “privacy-focused” vision for social networking. He has promised to transform Facebook from a company known for devouring the personal information shared by its users to one that gives people more ways to communicate in truly private fashion, with their intimate thoughts and pictures shielded by encryption in ways that Facebook itself can’t read.

ALSO READ: Facebook Bans White Nationalism, Separatism

However, HUD Secretary Ben Carson said Thursday there is little difference between the potential for discrimination in Facebook’s technology, and discrimination that has taken place for years.

“Facebook is discriminating against people based upon who they are and where they live,” Carson said. “Using a computer to limit a person’s housing choices can be just as discriminatory as slamming a door in someone’s face.” Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment early Thursday. (VOA)

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US Judge Orders Facebook to Disclose Malicious Apps’ Data: Report

The social networking giant found that the apps -- primarily social media management and video streaming apps -- retained access to group member information, like names and profile pictures in connection with group activity, from the Groups API (application programming interface)

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Social Media, Facebook, Authenticity, Posts
The social media application, Facebook is displayed on Apple's App Store, July 30, 2019. VOA

As part of a probe ordered in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica data scandal involving 87 million users, a US judge has ordered Facebook to hand over data of thousands of apps that violated its user privacy.

Facebook admitted last year that it suspended “tens of thousands” of apps for possible privacy violations.

A Massachusetts judge rejected the social networking giant’s attempts to withhold the key details from state investigators, The Washington Post said in a report on Friday.

“We are disappointed that the Massachusetts Attorney General and the Court didn’t fully consider our arguments on well-established law. We are reviewing our options, including appeal,” a Facebook spokesperson Andy Stone was quoted as saying in the report.

Maura Healey, the Democratic Attorney General of Massachusetts, said: “We are pleased that the Court ordered Facebook to tell our office which other app developers may have engaged in conduct like Cambridge Analytica.”

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FILE – Attendees walk past a Facebook logo during Facebook Inc’s F8 developers conference in San Jose, California, United States. VOA

The state of Massachusetts launched the probe last September after Facebook admitted that it had suspended “tens of thousands” of apps on its platform as a result of its review on privacy practices launched following the scandal involving Cambridge Analytica.

The review, launched in 2018, followed revelations that the political consultancy hijacked personal data on millions of Facebook users and included attorneys, external investigators, data scientists, engineers, policy specialists and others, according to a Facebook statement.

The Cambridge Analytica scandal resulted in a record-breaking, $5 billion fine for Facebook from the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Also Read: I Fall in Love with India Every Time I Return Here: Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos

In November 2019, Facebook revealed that at least 100 app developers may have accessed Facebook users’ data for months, confirming that at least 11 partners “accessed group members’ information in the last 60 days”.

The social networking giant found that the apps — primarily social media management and video streaming apps — retained access to group member information, like names and profile pictures in connection with group activity, from the Groups API (application programming interface). (IANS)