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After allegations of discrimination: Facebook changes controversial advertising practice in the USA


People of certain races or religions didn't see some real estate ads on Facebook in the United States. Therefore, the Ministry of Justice has now imposed a fine on the parent company Meta.

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The Meta Group logo:


Real estate ads only shown to white people?

This was apparently possible for years in the USA on the social network Facebook.

Now, following a discrimination lawsuit by the US government, Facebook group Meta is set to change its system for personalizing home ads.

At the same time, Meta will pay a fine of around $115,000 – the maximum amount provided by law, according to the Justice Department.

Real estate companies could have ensured that their advertisements were not displayed to people of a certain skin color, origin, marital status, gender or religious affiliation, according to the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development in March 2019.

The core of Facebook's business model is that advertisers can target specific user groups with their ads.

Real estate companies are also taking action – discrimination in the housing market, for example based on skin color or gender, is also prohibited by law in the USA.

The US government saw the problem specifically in a system with which advertisers can direct their ads to users who are similar to a reference group they have selected.

The algorithm that selects these similar users also takes into account characteristics such as skin color, national origin and gender, as the Justice Department emphasized on Tuesday.

The settlement agreement stipulates that Meta will no longer use the function for apartment advertisements by the end of the year at the latest.

The deal between the company and the government still has to be approved by the responsible judge.


Source: spiegel

All tech articles on 2022-06-22

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