Under the Act, it is illegal for homeowners to refuse to sell, rent or advertise their properties to certain groups of people, and to evict tenants based on demographics. Prosecutors sued Meta, alleging that its algorithms discriminatedly targeted users for home ads based on their “race, color, religion, gender, disability, family status and national origin.”
Damian Williams, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.
When a company develops and deploys technology that deprives users of housing opportunities based in whole or in part on protected characteristics, it already violates the Medicare Act, just as companies use more traditional advertising methods for discriminatory advertising.
As a result of the groundbreaking lawsuit, Meta Inc. will make changes to its ad serving system for the first time to address algorithmic discrimination. However, if Meta cannot demonstrate that it has sufficiently altered its delivery system to prevent algorithmic bias, the office will proceed with the lawsuit.
Meta has agreed to pay a fine of $115,054 to end the matter. The company also agreed to make necessary changes to the algorithms of its ad targeting system. The U.S. government cannot impose a higher fine on the company because that is the maximum penalty for violating the act.