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Courthouse News Service: Fair-housing groups nail Facebook on virtual redlining

Courthouse News Service, March 27, 2018: Fair-housing groups nail Facebook on virtual redlining

Represented by the firm Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady, the National Fair Housing Alliance and three other groups say Facebook faces the same obligations as any other platform to deny discriminatory advertising.

Rather than weeding it out, however, the complaint says Facebook encourages it, offering advertising tools to realtors that let them cater their ads for specific audiences while excluding protected groups.

To test the theory, according to the complaint, the four organizations created dozens of fictitious ads for supposed properties in New York, Washington, D.C., Miami and San Antonio. The groups found that Facebook allowed advertisers to exclude families with children or women from seeing the housing ads. They were also able to exclude users with interests in disabilities or national origin based on their Facebook profile.

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Redlining and Neighborhood Health

Before the pandemic devastated minority communities, banks and government officials starved them of capital.

Lower-income and minority neighborhoods that were intentionally cut off from lending and investment decades ago today suffer not only from reduced wealth and greater poverty, but from lower life expectancy and higher prevalence of chronic diseases that are risk factors for poor outcomes from COVID-19, a new study shows.

The new study, from the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) with researchers from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health and the University of Richmond’s Digital Scholarship Lab, compared 1930’s maps of government-sanctioned lending discrimination zones with current census and public health data.

Table of Content

  • Executive Summary
  • Introduction
  • Redlining, the HOLC Maps and Segregation
  • Segregation, Public Health and COVID-19
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Conclusion and Policy Recommendations
  • Citations
  • Appendix

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