The US Department of Housing and Urban Development UU., Who has just filed housing discrimination charges against Facebook for its advertising policies, apparently also examines Google and Twitter policies. The Washington Post writes that HUD officials informed Twitter and Google about an investigation into their advertising policies last year; a review is supposedly still in progress. "They want to make sure that other companies do not get away with something that is being investigated by a company," said an anonymous source at Post .
The HUD announced for the first time a complaint against Facebook last year. , and filed the lawsuit shortly after Facebook reached an important agreement with civil rights groups earlier this month. While Facebook agreed to eliminate categories that could allow ad buyers to discriminate against people who buy or rent homes, the suit suggested that automatic targeting of ads in general could present a problem, since it could inadvertently replicate discriminatory categories. This could have implications for all web platforms that run in targeted advertising.
The American Civil Liberties Union, which was one of the groups that established with Facebook, urged HUD today to expand its investigations. "It's true that HUD's complaint will add much-needed pressure on Facebook to eradicate discrimination from its advertising platform, and we encourage the department to investigate the wide swath of online advertising platforms," said senior staff attorney, Galen. Sherwin, in a statement.
A Google spokesperson told The Verge that "we have had policies in effect for many years that prohibit targeting ads based on sensitive categories such as race, ethnicity, religious beliefs, disability status, financial status. Our policy is designed to protect users and ensure that advertisers use our platforms responsibly. "A Twitter spokesperson said targeted advertising based on racial or ethnic origin, religion, negative financial condition or commission of crimes "It is prohibited on Twitter in the following categories and we apply our policies rigorously."