Feds: Facebook 'encourages, enables, and causes housing discrimination'


Facebook is facing federal charges for alleged housing discrimination through its advertising platform.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced Thursday that Facebook is accused of "violating the Fair Housing Act by encouraging, enabling, and causing housing discrimination."

"Facebook unlawfully discriminates based on race, color, national origin, religion, familial status, sex, and disability by restricting who can view housing-related ads on Facebook’s platforms and across the internet," reads a statement from HUD. "Further, HUD claims Facebook mines extensive data about its users and then uses those data to determine which of its users view housing-related ads based, in part, on these protected characteristics."

HUD Secretary Ben Carson compared Facebook's alleged housing discrimination actions to "slamming a door in someone's face."

"Facebook is discriminating against people based upon who they are and where they live," said Carson. "Using a computer to limit a person’s housing choices can be just as discriminatory as slamming a door in someone’s face."

The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing and in housing-related services, including online advertisements, based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, or familial status.

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