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Friday, August 17, 2018

HUD sues Facebook, which could jeopardize all Internet ads

HUD today sued Facebook for promoting illegal discrimination in housing. This could be the first legal challenge to how Internet oligarchs target ads. One man's tailoring ads to audiences is another man's discrimination.

The agency's press release said, "The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced today a formal complaint against Facebook for violating the Fair Housing Act by allowing landlords and home sellers to use its advertising platform to engage in housing discrimination.

"HUD claims Facebook enables advertisers to control which users receive housing-related ads based upon the recipient's race, color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin, disability, and/or zip code. Facebook then invites advertisers to express unlawful preferences by offering discriminatory options, allowing them to effectively limit housing options for these protected classes under the guise of 'targeted advertising.'"

That triggered so much laughing that I had a coughing spell.

The Social Justice Warriors running the site are too busy censoring conservative writers that they failed to do due diligence in advertising.

The press release said, "For example, HUD's complaint alleges Facebook's platform violates the Fair Housing Act. It enables advertisers to, among other things:
  • display housing ads either only to men or women;
  • not show ads to Facebook users interested in an 'assistance dog,' 'mobility scooter,' 'accessibility' or 'deaf culture';   
  • not show ads to users whom Facebook categorizes as interested in "child care" or "parenting," or show ads only to users with children above a specified age;
  • to display/not display ads to users whom Facebook categorizes as interested in a particular place of worship, religion or tenet, such as the 'Christian Church,' 'Sikhism,' 'Hinduism,' or the 'Bible.'
  • not show ads to users whom Facebook categorizes as interested in Latin America, Canada, Southeast Asia, China, Honduras, or Somalia.
  • draw a red line around zip codes and then not display ads to Facebook users who live in specific zip codes.
"Additionally, Facebook promotes its advertising targeting platform for housing purposes with 'success stories' for finding 'the perfect homeowners,' 'reaching home buyers,' 'attracting renters' and 'personalizing property ads.'

"In addition, today the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York filed a statement of interest, joined in by HUD, in U.S. District Court on behalf of a number of private litigants challenging Facebook's advertising platform."

So there are victims of Facebook's accommodation of discrimination.


Facebook is entitled to the presumption of innocence. HUD is not perfect.

But I am laughing because this could be the tip of the iceberg for social media and Google. Targeting ads also can be viewed as discrimination.

Add into this Google, Facebook, and others tracking where you go online, and you could have a 100-car pileup.


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  1. Delicious.

    What's the line from 1970s TV? I love it when a plan comes together? It's positively Alinsky-esque. This ain't brain surgery but it's nice to have one heading up HUD.

    However, I must point that not showing ads to people interested in "Canada" is not unlawful discrimination. "Canadian" is not a protected class. Discriminate away at those G.D. Canucks.

    1. George Peppard - The A Team 17 seconds into it is my fave...

  2. It appears that the HUD camel has its nose in the Facebook tent. We know the rest of the story. - Elric

  3. Only Trump. Who else could cover all these bases for Normals?
    Thanks, Dr Carson. Hell of a team!

    1. I was just wondering the other day what Dr. Ben was up to. Damned good entrance here, if I do say so myself! Potentially, this is huge. Thousands of lines of code scrapped or rewritten, PR disaster, and maybe even some massive purging of databases. And the alleged harm was done to minorities! Ben, you magnificent bastard.

    2. Facebook pc squad needs to be spanked for not being good little social justice socialists.

  4. Popcorn futures? Get your popcorn futures here.

  5. Could be the Internet barons’ Standard Oil moment.

  6. Didn't they try to smear Trump with allegations of housing discrimination from the '70s?

    How about some contemporary, on-going discrimination that is fundamental the social media advertising methods? Don't make the real estate magnate angry, he's had to know those rules for decades.

    BTW, I was remembering today, back when Samantha Powers "warned" Trump it was "not a good idea to piss of John Brennan"

  7. While there have been some useful innovations pertaining to delivering actual goods and services to come out of Silicon Valley over the last twenty years, the majority of the action is measured by eyeballs and clicks, and the value of that never materialized. That window is closing fast because the millennials and following generations are less susceptible, having been hammered by targeting from early adulthood.

    I hope and pray this means the end of the distortion is on the horizon. It will be truly amazing to see the gains we could see in our standard of living once the talent and hard work of so many of the best and brightest technologists stops being pissed away on what amounts to trivial entertainment in the big scheme of things.

  8. My karma ran over your dogma! HAHAHAHA!
    I can't stand all this winning!

  9. And there goes loyalty card discounts....