DOJ settles lawsuit with Facebook over alleged discriminatory housing ad

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before the US House Financial Services Committee during an examination of Facebook and its impact on the financial services and housing sectors on Capitol Hill on October 23, 2019 in Washington.

Xinhua News Agency | Getty Images

Justice Department reached an agreement with the owner of facebook meta It is alleged to have engaged in discriminatory advertising that violates federal housing law, the agency announced Tuesday.

Inquiry 2019. stems from Allegation of discrimination by Housing and Urban Development Department, According to the release, after the company was selected to hear the charges in federal court, HUD referred the matter to the DOJ.

The DOJ claimed that Meta targets users with housing ads based on algorithms that partially rely on characteristics protected under the Fair Housing Act, such as race, national origin and gender. It also alleged that Meta’s Lookalike or Specialized Ad Audience tool allowed advertisers to target users based on protected traits.

The settlement, which still needs to be approved by the court, would require Meta to stop using that tool for housing ads, which the government claims relies on algorithms that discriminate based on protected characteristics.

Facebook will need to build a new system for housing ads by December that will have to be approved by the government. If the government accepts the system, META will have to submit regular third-party reviews to ensure it remains in compliance. If the new advertising system does not adequately address the issues, the settlement will be terminated and the matter will return to federal court.

Meta will have to pay the maximum penalty under the Fair Housing Act of $115,054 under the settlement.

“As technology evolves rapidly, companies like Meta have a responsibility to ensure that their algorithmic tools are not used in a discriminatory manner,” DOJ Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Civil Rights Division said in a statement. Huh.”

one in blog post Following the announcement, META described the agreement as “the result of more than a year of collaboration with HUD to develop a new use of machine learning technology that will measure the overall audience of a housing ad, regardless of age, gender, or gender.” and will work to ensure the presumed race or ethnicity matches the age, gender and presumed race or ethnicity mix of the population eligible to view that ad.”

The company said it limits targeting options to advertisers already running housing ads and that its new system will aim to “make additional progress toward more equitable delivery of ads through our ad delivery process.”

Meta said it will also expand this approach to include ad targeting for employment and credit, adding it will stop using its specialized ad audience targeting tools for those categories.

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