Last week I watched a webinar (additional cost) that is available on the NAFCU Online Training Center titled Red Flags for Fair Lending. The webinar was presented live in March of this year on the same day that the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) charged Facebook with violating the Fair Housing Act. Despite the brief warning, the presenters did a great job of explaining what was at issue in the charge against Facebook and what that might mean for credit unions and other financial institutions attempting to comply with the Fair Housing Act’s requirements. The Fair Housing Act prohibits discriminating against any person with respect to the terms and conditions of the sale or rental of a dwelling or in providing any services in conjunction with a sale or rental on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin, or disability. When a dwelling is involved, NCUA’s nondiscrimination in lending rule prohibits discrimination against any person in the lending context on similar bases.
Facebook unlawfully discriminates by enabling advertisers to restrict which Facebook users receive housing-related ads based on race, color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin and disability. Facebook mines extensive user data and classifies its users based on protected characteristics. Facebook’s ad targeting tools then invite advertisers to express unlawful preferences by suggesting discriminatory options, and Facebook effectuates the delivery of housing-related ads to certain users and not others based on those users’ actual or imputed protected traits.
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