The lawsuit, filed by the Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity in collaboration with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), alleged Meta enabled advertisers to target housing ads based on demographic data protected by the Fair Housing Act (FHA). Advertisers were able to selectively show housing ads to users of a certain race, color, religion, sex, disability status, familial status, or national origin. Meta’s marketing tools, known as “Special Ad Audience” (previously “Lookalike Audience”), would then use machine learning to determine whether a user was “eligible” to see a housing ad. This prevented some users from seeing opportunities they otherwise might have used.
The complaint argues that Meta has engaged in disparate treatment by distinguishing users based on FHA-protected characteristics, and then designing algorithms that “[affect] Facebook users differently on the basis of their membership in protected classes.”
Meta immediately worked ...
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