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Thursday, April 4, 2019

Lawsuit: Facebook's ads system leans on stereotypes for housing, jobs ads: study

REUTERS has reported that Facebook Inc directs advertising to audiences in ways that could promote racial and gender discrimination, a new study showed, adding to allegations that prompted the U.S. government to sue the world’s largest social media company last week.

Facebook’s algorithms, which match marketing messages with viewers, leans on stereotypes when it comes to housing and jobs, according to the study by researchers from Northeastern University, University of Southern California and advocacy group Upturn. The study was posted on arXiv, an online forum for research awaiting peer review, on Wednesday.

“Ad platforms themselves can shape access to information about important life opportunities in ways that might present a challenge to equal opportunity goals,” said the group, whose university researchers have done separate studies on online ad systems.

Facebook spokesman Joe Osborne responded in statement that the company recognizes it must do more, and said the findings would be included in ongoing discussions about changing its ads system.

“We’ve been looking at our ad delivery system and have engaged industry leaders, academics, and civil rights experts on this very topic – and we’re exploring more changes,” he said.

The Trump administration sued Facebook last Thursday, accusing it of selling targeted advertising that discriminated on the basis of race, in violation of the U.S. Fair Housing Act.

According to Reuters Facebook removed some targeting options in response to complaints from the government and civil rights groups.

For a detailed reading click here for more on Reuters. 

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