HUD Files Housing Discrimination Complaint Against Facebook

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) just announced that they have filed a formal complaint against Facebook for violating the Federal Fair Housing Act by “allowing landlords and home sellers to use its advertising platform to engage in housing discrimination“.

Some of the ways HUD alleges that Facebook platform violates the Federal Fair Housing Act include:

  • display housing ads either only to men or women;
  • not show ads to Facebook users interested in an “assistance dog,” “mobility scooter,” “accessibility” or “deaf culture”;
  • not show ads to users whom Facebook categorizes as interested in “child care” or “parenting,” or show ads only to users with children above a specified age;
  • to display/not display ads to users whom Facebook categorizes as interested in a particular place of worship, religion or tenet, such as the “Christian Church,” “Sikhism,” “Hinduism,” or the “Bible.”
  • not show ads to users whom Facebook categorizes as interested in “Latin America,” “Canada,” “Southeast Asia,” “China,” “Honduras,” or “Somalia.”
  • draw a red line around zip codes and then not display ads to Facebook users who live in specific zip codes.

You can read the contents of the HUD complaint against Facebook here.

This is an example of why it is imperative that real estate agents, investors, landlords, and home sellers that choose to handle their own home sale know and understand the Federal Fair Housing Act including things that are prohibited under the Act.  It never ceases to amaze me how many FSBO’s (for sale by owners) feel they are exempt from all housing laws and regulations just because they are not a real estate agent.  I’m surprised as well by how many real estate agents really don’t fully understand it either and think things like what they do on Facebook is different than if done in a classified ad in a newspaper or just because a platform gives you the ability to do something (such as target just one sex) it makes it ok, which it obviously does not.

In any event, when it comes time to buy or sell real estate, I would encourage you to, first off, not try doing it on your own but use an agent, and then select an agent based upon he or she’s experience, qualifications and knowledge.  A good starting point is here – “How To Choose A Real Estate Agent“.


Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Paved The Path For Fair Housing

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is a name synonymous with civil rights who, along with his followers, led to the passage of the Civil Rights Act. Through the efforts of the civil rights movement, Dr. King and others were able to get the attention of our nation resulting in President John F. Kennedy, in a nationally televised address on June 6, 1963, urging the nation to ” take action toward guaranteeing equal treatment of every American regardless of race.”  Shortly after his address to the nation, President Kennedy proposed that Congress consider civil rights legislation that would address rights in many areas such as voting, public accommodations, school desegregation but not housing at the time.  Even though President Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963, his efforts beforehand still resulted in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 when, then President, Lyndon Johnson, signed into law on July 2, 1964.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibited discrimination in public places, provided for integration of schools and made employment discrimination illegal, however, it did not address housing.

Four years later came the Civil Rights Act of 1968, which is also referred to, and more commonly known, as the “Fair Housing Act of 1968″, which expanded the original civil rights act to include prohibiting discrimination concerning the sale, rental, and financing of housing based on race, religion, national origin or sex.  President Lyndon Johnson signed the Fair Housing Act into law on April 11, 1968, one week after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated.


Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. resources and information…



Justice Department Obtains $120,000 Settlement in Housing Discrimination Lawsuit Against Indiana Condominium Association

The Justice Department announced this week that a Munster, Ind., condominium association and its three member board of directors have agreed to pay $120,000 to resolve allegations that they refused to approve the sale of a condominium to an African-American couple because of their race and because they had children.   The settlement must still be approved by U.S. Senior District Judge Philip P. Simon. Continue reading “Justice Department Obtains $120,000 Settlement in Housing Discrimination Lawsuit Against Indiana Condominium Association