Friday, November 04, 2016
Cleaver: Facebook ads discriminatory toward minorities
Owning a home is often considered the American dream. A dream that takes time, planning and a “little savings” along the way. Imagine my surprise upon hearing reports that some minorities and ethnic groups were being denied opportunities to use their “little savings” on Facebook.
Let me explain - you see, certain ads on Facebook that promote home sales, discounts, and other opportunities, including job opportunities, are not always displayed on pages used by members of minority groups. This is, in part, due to a customization feature when designing the ads where advertisers are able to select the "Ethnic Affinity" of individuals who view their ads.
By allowing online advertisers to promote or market a certain community for home sales, Facebook is consequently promoting restrictive housing practices.
As the ranking member of the subcommittee on Housing and Insurance, I joined Congresswoman Robin Kelly (D-IL) and other Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Members in sending a letter to Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. The letter, which can be found here, addresses these reports.
This is a direct violation of the Fair Housing Act of 1968 and it is our strong desire to see Facebook address this issue immediately.
Facebook may not have intentionally created this feature to separate communities, but there are minority families who have not seen or heard of the housing opportunities and sales that are being marketed and made available to others.
I hope Mr. Zuckerberg sees this as a serious infringement and corrects this customization feature in online advertisements. Trying to achieve that American dream of owning a home is a task in itself for many hardworking citizens. Everyone should have the same opportunity to achieve that goal.