Monday January 20, 2020
Home Lead Story US Department...

US Department Charges Facebook with Housing Ad Bias: Report

These changes were the result of settlement agreements with leading civil rights organisations and ongoing input from civil rights experts, said Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg

0
//
Facebook, data, vietnam
This photo shows a Facebook app icon on a smartphone in New York. VOA

The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) on Thursday charged Facebook with housing discrimination, saying the social media giant encouraged and caused housing discrimination through ad targeting.

“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,” HUD Secretary Ben Carson said in a statement.

According to a report in The Verge, the charges were based on a complaint filed in August.

The department accused Facebook of allowing advertisers to exclude certain people from seeing ads, including parents, people born outside the US, non-Christians and those interested in Hispanic culture or accessibility matters.

A Facebook representative was quoted as saying they were surprised by HUD’s decision. “We’ve been working with them to address the concerns and have taken significant steps to prevent ads discrimination,” the spokesperson told The Verge.

facebook, iphone, new york
FILE – The Facebook app icon is shown on an iPhone in New York. VOA

In a blog post on March 19, Facebook announced new changes where anyone who wants to run such ads will no longer be allowed to target by age, gender or zip code.

These changes were the result of settlement agreements with leading civil rights organisations and ongoing input from civil rights experts, said Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg.

Also Read- Food Insecurity In New York, Indian-Americans Work To Raise Awareness

Last year, the US National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA), the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Communication Workers of America (CWA) and other private parties, filed litigation against Facebook, saying it needs to build stronger protections against abuse.

“Our policies prohibit advertisers from using our tools to discriminate. We’ve removed thousands of categories from targeting related to protected classes such as race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and religion. But we can do better,” said Sandberg. (IANS)

Next Story

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)

0
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.”

facebook, instant games
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)