The Justice Department had accused Meta’s housing advertising system of discriminating against Facebook users based on their race, gender, religion and other characteristics.
SAN FRANCISCO — Meta on Tuesday agreed to alter its ad technology and pay a penalty of $115,054, in a settlement with the Justice Department over claims that the company’s ad systems had discriminated against Facebook users by restricting who was able to see housing ads on the platform based on their race, gender and ZIP code.
Under the agreement, Meta, the company formerly known as Facebook, said it would change its technology and use a new computer-assisted method that aims to regularly check whether those who are targeted and eligible to receive housing ads are, in fact, seeing those ads. The new method, which is referred to as a “variance reduction system,” relies on machine learning to ensure that advertisers are delivering ads related to housing to specific protected classes of people.
“Meta will — for the first time — change its ad delivery system to address algorithmic discrimination,” Damian Williams, a U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, said in a statement. “But if Meta fails to demonstrate that it has sufficiently changed its delivery system to guard against algorithmic bias, this office will proceed with the litigation.”