Facebook Settlement Doesn’t Preclude HUD Action
Facebook may be making significant changes to its advertising platform as it announced this week to settle charges it allowed advertisers to block certain people from seeing housing, employment, or lending ads. However, that doesn’t mean HUD has given up its pursuit of the social media behemoth.
A HUD spokesperson told HousingWire Wednesday that the agency’s complaint against Facebook is still outstanding, adding that the agency is in discussion with Facebook about the issues at the core of the complaint.
According to HUD’s complaint, Facebook’s advertising platform allowed advertisers to violate the Fair Housing Act in several ways, including displaying housing ads either only to men or women; not showing ads to users interested in an “assistance dog,” “mobility scooter,” “accessibility” or “deaf culture;” not showing ads to users whom Facebook categorizes as interested in “child care” or “parenting.”
HUD’s complaint is a “Secretary-Initiated Complaint,” which are fair housing complaints filed directly against those whom HUD believes may be in violation of the Fair Housing Act. HUD noted at the time that the complaint was not a determination of liability.
According to HUD, a formal fact-finding investigation was to commence after the complaint was filed. From there, Facebook was to be given an opportunity to respond to the complaint, but HUD noted that it may still file a formal discrimination charge at a later date.