Facebook (META) to change ad-targeting tech following settlement with Justice Department

An official statement from the U.S. Department of Justice notes Facebook allegedly used its Special Ad Audience tool in a way that falls in violation of the Fair Housing Act (FHA).

Image: Facebook (META)

In an announcement today from the U.S. Department of Justice, it was revealed that an agreement has been made with Facebook (META) in regards to a lawsuit that was issued over alleged discriminatory advertising that falls in violation of the Fair Housing Act (FHA).

As a result of the settlement, Facebook will cease the use of its advertising tool, Special Ad Audience. With this tool, Facebook had reportedly utilized a discriminatory algorithm to advertise housing based on Facebook users’ race, religion, sex, disability, etc.

In the official statement from the U.S. Department of Justice, the following is noted:

U.S. Department of Justice statement on Facebook (META) ad lawsuit
© U.S. Department of Justice

Under the settlement, Meta will stop using an advertising tool for housing ads (known as the “Special Ad Audience” tool) that, according to the department’s complaint, relies on a discriminatory algorithm.

Meta also will develop a new system to address racial and other disparities caused by its use of personalization algorithms in its ad delivery system for housing ads. That system will be subject to Department of Justice approval and court oversight.”

Not only is this the first case that challenges algorithmic bias, it’s also the first time Facebook has agreed to stop using one of its algorithmic targeting tools at the hands of a lawsuit. Moving forward, Facebook will need to modify its algorithm for housing ads to avoid future Fair Housing Act violations.

© Facebook (META)

For more on the lawsuit, be sure to read through the full statement from the U.S. Department of Justice. After brushing up on the situation, we’re also eager to hear your thoughts on the matter in Chatty.

For more on Facebook, also be sure to read through our coverage of Facebook officially changing its stock symbol to META.

Senior Editor

Morgan is a writer from the frozen wastelands of Maine who enjoys metal music, kpop, horror, and indie games. They're also a Tetris fanatic who's fiercely competitive in games like Tetris 99... and all games in general. But mostly Tetris. You can follow Morgan on Twitter @Author_MShaver.

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