- Protected classes: HUD says Facebook is able to group people into certain categories such as non-Christian, non-American-born, those interested in Hispanic activities, etc., and then allows advertisers to exclude them. Some of the groups excluded are seen as protected classes under the FHA, reports the AP.
- Facebook's response: The company says it's "surprised" by the charges because it's been working on the issue. Most recently, it agreed this month to change the ad-targeting system in a settlement with civil rights groups, including the ACLU. Among other things, advertisers won't be able to exclude viewers based on ZIP codes. Separate talks with HUD apparently faltered because the agency "insisted on access to sensitive information—like user data—without adequate safeguards," says the company.
- First trouble: Potential abuses in Facebook's "ethnic affinities tool" first surfaced in a 2016 investigation by ProPublica. Facebook promised reform. A year later, a ProPublica follow-up found that little had changed.
(The company is making it harder for supporters of white nationalism
to find each other online.)