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Category Archives: Social Media

HUD File Housing Discrimination Complaint Against Facebook

“WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today a formal complaint against Facebook for violating the Fair Housing Act by allowing landlords and home sellers to use its advertising platform to engage in housing discrimination. HUD claims Facebook enables advertisers to control which users receive housing-related ads based upon the recipient’s race, color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin, disability, and/or zip code. Facebook then invites advertisers to express unlawful preferences by offering discriminatory options, allowing them to effectively limit housing options for these protected classes under the guise of ‘targeted advertising.’ Read HUD’s complaint against Facebook. “The Fair Housing Act prohibits housing discrimination including those who might limit or deny housing options with a click of a mouse,” said Anna María Farías, HUD’s Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “When Facebook uses the vast amount of personal data it collects to help advertisers to discriminate, it’s the same as slamming the door in someone’s face. The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing transactions including print and online advertisement on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, or familial status. HUD’s Secretary-initiated complaint follows the Department’s investigation into Facebook’s advertising platform which includes targeting tools that enable advertisers to filter prospective tenants or homebuyers based on these protected classes.  For example, HUD’s complaint alleges Facebook’s platform violates the Fair Housing Act. It enables advertisers to, among other things:

  • 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…”

14% of Americans have changed their mind about an issue because of something they saw on social media

“For most Americans, exposure to different content and ideas on social media has not caused them to change their opinions. But a small share of the public – 14% – say they have changed their views about a political or social issue in the past year because of something they saw on social media, according… Continue Reading

National Archives Guides Federal Agencies on Managing Electronic Records

WASHINGTON, August 8, 2018 — “Earlier this week, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) held its first forum to discuss management of digital records [via YouTube] moving into the 21st century. As of December, 31, 2022, the agency will no longer accept records in analog or text form. So NARA is proactively providing guidance… Continue Reading

Symantec – Mobile Privacy: What Do Your Apps Know About You?

Just how much personal information are your apps gathering? “And do they really need so much? The average smartphone user these days has between 60 and 90 apps on their device. Most of these apps request some sort of information about you and the device you are using. They may want to know your name,… Continue Reading

Utilizing a Bloomberg-Curated Twitter Feed

“Social media has fundamentally changed the way new information is disseminated in everyday life. Compared with conventional channels such as TV, newspapers or magazines, social media outlets truly leveled the playing field by giving all content owners equal access to a publishing service that is essentially free, instant and global. In this paper, we explain… Continue Reading

Americans don’t think the platforms are doing enough to fight fake news

Knight Foundation report: “Major internet companies such as Google®, Yahoo® and Facebook® have millions of users who visit their websites or apps frequently to find information or connect with others. In addition to those basic tasks that popularized the sites, they now provide news to their users, typically by linking to news articles reported by… Continue Reading

GAO – Focusing on “Just Facts” with new tweets

WASHINGTON, DC (August 13, 2018) – “The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) issues nearly one thousand reports, testimonies and legal decisions each year, all based on non-partisan, fact-based work. And while the headlines quickly fade in today’s fast-paced news cycle, there are still hundreds of thousands of facts buried in GAO’s body of work. So… Continue Reading

Axios – The insane Trump news cycle of 2018 in one chart

“Here’s how busy the Trump news cycle has been in just the first half of 2018, as seen in Google News Lab’s data on the googling trends of the public. It shows when and how much people searched about 30 of the biggest news events…This doesn’t even account for all of the policy changes, media… Continue Reading

Trump’s Nemesis in the Age of Pinocchio

The New York Times highlights the work of Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post in the article Trump’s Nemesis in the Age of Pinocchio – “Glenn Kessler’s database of presidential untruths will become a reference, a talisman… Every untruth Trump utters, Kessler chronicles. At the beginning of this month, the running total was 4,229 false or… Continue Reading

The Flourishing Business of Fake YouTube Views

The New York Times – The Flourishing Business of Fake YouTube Views – “Plays can be bought for pennies and delivered in bulk, inflating videos’ popularity and making the social media giant vulnerable to manipulation…” Continue Reading

Study – How Do Americans Feel About Online Privacy in 2018?

The Best VPN – “Concerns around online privacy have come to a head in 2018. In mid-March, The New York Times and The Guardian reported that data from 50 million Facebook profiles was harvested for data mining firm Cambridge Analytica — a number that would eventually be revised to 87 million in one of the… Continue Reading

How to Teach Information Literacy in an Era of Lies

The Chronicle of Higher Education – “Every day, critics of the American president decry his penchant for “false or misleading claims,” while he and his supporters fire back with accusations of “fake news.” It’s no wonder those of us who teach are worried more than ever about information literacy. The flourishing of misperceptions makes it… Continue Reading