The Department of Housing and Urban Development has accused Facebook of violating the Fair Housing Act by for allowing advertisers to use the service’s targeted advertising programs to block housing ads for certain groups of people. The Fair Housing Act prohibits housing discrimination "based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, or familial status." "Using a computer to limit a person's housing choices can be just as discriminatory as slamming a door in someone's face," said HUD secretary Ben Carson.
Class discussion: Does targeted advertising programs used by Facebook, Google and virtually every other online company make it easy for advertisers to discriminate "based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, or familial status?" Earlier, Facebook was sued over charges it allowed companies to discriminate with job ads. Is the way online advertising works just flawed and unfair? Does it make discrimination worse? Do the computer programs that track and categorize you end up isolating you from ads and news you should see? Should advertisers and Internet companies or computer users themselves decide what they see?
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