National Fair Housing Alliance Sues Facebook

The National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) and three of its member organizations filed a lawsuit against Facebook, Inc. in federal court in New York City, alleging that Facebook’s advertising platform enables landlords and real estate brokers to exclude families with children, women, and other protected classes of people from receiving housing ads. Facebook customizes the audience for its millions of advertisers based on its personalized user data. After being warned repeatedly about its discriminatory advertising practices, Facebook continues to offer this functionality allowing landlords to deny people access to rental housing and real estate sales ads because of their sex, family status, and disabilities.

The lawsuit alleges that Facebook has created pre-populated lists that make it possible for housing advertisers to exclude home seekers from viewing or receiving rental or sales ads because of protected characteristics, including family status and sex. In addition, Facebook provides housing advertisers with the ability to exclude certain “interest” categories from receiving ads that are disability-based (e.g., people who are interested in homes for disabled veterans or parking permits for disabled individuals) or national origin-based (e.g., people who are interested in English as a second language).

In addition to NFHA, the plaintiffs are the Fair Housing Justice Center (FHJC) based in New York City; Housing Opportunities Project for Excellence, Inc. (HOPE) in Miami, FL; and the Fair Housing Council of Greater San Antonio (FHCGSA).

A copy of the complaint is at:

An NFHA media release is at: