Facebook is being sued for allegedly letting their advertising tools let housing companies discriminate against some buyers.
Everyone has been talking about all the bad buzz around Facebook, but now we`re learning of a new controversy: discrimination in advertisements.
Fair housing organizations filed a lawsuit against Facebook alleging that its advertising tools let housing companies discriminate against women and families with children.
These organizations are looking at cases in New York, Washington D.C., Miami and San Antonio, but according to attorney Richard Hunt, the case lacks hard proof.
“They have done test advertisements where they have posted fake discriminatory ads but they haven`t been able to show that any real real estate company or real real estate broker has posted a discriminatory ad,” Hunt said.
Hunt says Facebook has systems set up to keep discrimination from occurring but because those systems are automated, there will be some ads that fall through the cracks.
“Facebook has lots of filters that don`t allow inappropriate materials in but if you`re determined you can get past them,” Hunt said, “and I think Facebook would say, well, these people were determined to get past our filters and they did.”
In a statement, Facebook said the suit is without merit.
Tracy Wisneski, who has advertised on Facebook, posted on Twitter that she never found a targeting option for race, but Matt Ashwood replied there`s a drop down option for it.
Tracy wrote she never saw that option before, but believes this issue will get worked out.
“You`ve made it easy for people to advertise and that`s good if you want to make money,” Hunt said, “but how are you going to keep people from abusing it when you`re relying entirely on computer automated systems?”
Hunt suggests that if you feel like you have been discriminated against when it comes to housing, you can file a complaint with the department of housing and urban development at HUD.gov.