United States v. Meta Platforms, Inc., f/k/a Facebook, Inc. (S.D.N.Y.)


On June 27, 2022, the court approved the parties’ settlement agreement and entered a final judgment in United States v. Meta Platforms, Inc., f/k/a Facebook, Inc. (S.D.N.Y.).  The complaint, which was filed on June 21, 2022, alleged that Meta’s housing advertising system discriminated against Facebook users based on their race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, and national origin, in violation of the Fair Housing Act (FHA).  Specifically, the complaint alleged, among other things, that Meta uses algorithms in determining which Facebook users receive housing ads and that those algorithms rely, in part, on characteristics protected under the FHA.  Under the settlement, Meta stopped using an advertising tool (known as the “Special Ad Audience” tool) for housing ads and developed a new system to address racial and other disparities caused by its use of personalization algorithms in its ad delivery system for housing ads.  On January 9, 2023, the Justice Department announced that it reached agreement with Meta, as required by the settlement, on compliance targets for that new system.  Under the terms of the June 2022 settlement, Meta also will not provide any ad targeting options for housing advertisers that directly describe or relate to FHA-protected characteristics.  The settlement also requires Meta to pay a civil penalty of $115,054, the maximum penalty available under the FHA.  The case involves a Secretary-initiated HUD complaint and was referred to the Justice Department after the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) conducted an investigation and issued a charge of discrimination.

Press Release (1/9/2023)
Press Release (6/21/2022)

Case Open Date: 
Tuesday, June 21, 2022
Case Name: 
United States v. Meta Platforms, Inc., f/k/a Facebook, Inc. (S.D.N.Y.)
Fair Housing Act; FHA; race; color; religion; sex; familial status; National origin; Trait-Based Targeting; Lookalike Targeting; Special Ad Audience; Personalization Algorithms; Eligible Audience; Actual Audience
Industry Code: 
Civil Rights Division
Civil Rights - Housing and Civil Enforcement Section
Updated January 11, 2023