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March 28, 2019

It's been a rough week for Facebook. First, the company appeared in Brussels appeals court on Wednesday to fight a 2018 court order that demanded it stop tracking local users' online habits. Now, it's facing charges from the Department of Housing and Urban Development for discrimination under the Fair Housing Act.

HUD believes the tech giant was encouraging housing discrimination through its advertising platform, reports Gizmodo. Facebook allegedly used to allow advertisers to target specific groups of people by excluding others according to race, nationality, religion, sex, and disability, among other identifiers.

“Facebook is discriminating against people based upon who they are and where they live,” said HUD Secretary Ben Carson in a statement. “Using a computer to limit a person's housing choices can be just as discriminatory as slamming a door in someone's face.”

This is not the first time Facebook has suffered housing discrimination allegations. On Tuesday, the company ended an 18-month court battle with leading civil rights organizations in New York and will pay out $5 million as part of the settlement, reports Gizmodo.

Back in 2017, Facebook blamed their housing discrimination practices on a "technical glitch," claiming there were safeguards in place to protect users from such discrimination. It remains unclear whether Facebook will continue to blame a glitch in fighting the new federal charges. Amari Pollard

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