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Meta settles US lawsuit over housing discrimination

Meta has agreed to settle 2019 charges that it enabled housing discrimination through ad targeting. The deal with the Justice Department will have the company end use of a "Special Ad Audiences" tool that allegedly used a discrimination-prone algorithm to widen the reach of housing ads on Facebook. Meta is instead developing a new method, the "variance reduction system," to ensure home ads match their eligible targeted viewers.

The decision to retire Special Ad Audiences also applies to credit and employment ads, Meta added. The company said all three categories were part of a "deep-rooted problem" with discrimination in the US.

This is the first time the DOJ has used a case to tackle algorithmic biases under the Fair Housing Act, according to officials. Meta said it collaborated with the Department of Housing and Urban Development for over a year to more accurately target ads and avoid discrimination. The new ...

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