Facebook’s Latest Trouble: Fair Housing

Facebook, which along with Google dominates the online advertising marketplace, is being sued by fair housing groups. Those groups claim that Facebook allows housing advertisers to discriminate against groups like women, families with children and veterans. From a lengthy article published by the Triad Business Journal in cooperation with the New York Times:

Facebook, in response to criticism over the last 17 months, has repeatedly promised that it would crack down on advertisers who use those tools to show housing or employment ads to whites only.

But in the lawsuit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, the National Fair Housing Alliance and affiliates in New York, San Antonio and Miami contend that Facebook’s advertising platform “continues to enable landlords and real estate brokers to bar families with children, women and others from receiving rental and sales ads for housing.”

“We want the court to order Facebook to develop a plan to remove any ability for advertisers to access Facebook’s checklists for excluding groups of people in the posting of housing-related ads,” said Diane L. Houk, a lawyer for of Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady. “Because of Facebook’s impact on the housing market, we’ll ask the court to implement a plan of community education and outreach to housing providers to inform them of their obligation not to discriminate.”