Exclusive — Carson: Clear Cut Evidence of Facebook Advertising Platform Discrimination

The Associated Press
Zach Gibson/AP

HUD Secretary Ben Carson joined SiriusXM Patriot’s Breitbart News Daily, Tuesday, to discuss HUD’s lawsuit against Facebook over the company’s discriminatory advertising system. Secretary Carson says HUD, the DOJ, and other agencies have their “antenna up” towards the Silicon Valley Masters of the Universe.

“Secretary, you are doing something that I think is so important, which is that you, HUD, are suing Facebook, and I always want to sue Facebook, full disclosure, but why are you guys doing it?” asked Breitbart News Editor-in-Chief and radio host Alex Marlow.

“Well, basically because they violated the fair housing act of 1968, which specifically prohibits discrimination in advertising for housing, and the interesting thing is this is something that’s been evolving over a period of time as technology advances, and what it really means is we all need to be much more vigilant about what’s going on, because we have to keep up with the technological advances,” Carson explained. “The real purpose here is to protect the people, to provide decent, safe, and fair housing, and to take everybody’s rights into consideration when we do that, and also to recognize that our people are our most valuable resource, and developing our people only strengthens our country.”

Marlow then declared, “Let’s try to read Mark Zuckerberg’s mind for a minute. What do you think makes him think it’s okay to target housing ads by race, or employment ads by gender or age? And is there something wrong with him? How do you get this idea?”

“Well, I hope he just really hasn’t thought deeply about what he’s doing, and they’re not the only ones, there are others too, and I hope they’re paying close attention to this,” Carson responded. “We need to recognize that our people have rights, and you know, mining information about them that they’re unaware of, what websites they’re visiting, what apps they’re downloading, where they’re physically present, what things they are buying, and then using that kind of information along with protected class information to discriminate is just outrageous.”

“Some people say that it’s widespread. Well, it was widespread decades ago… redlining neighborhoods, it was widespread ‘whites only’ signs when it came to real estate,” he continued. “So we obviously need to deal with that as we strengthen and bring true fairness to our communities, not just fairness for people who agree with a certain ideology, but for everybody.”

After Marlow asked, “If they can’t keep racist ads out of their business model, what hope do we have that they’ll ever act as a reasonable company?” Carson replied, “I understand. That’s the reason we’re pursuing this, even though some of the other complainants have been satisfied, we’re not satisfied, because you’re basically saying, ‘We’ll take care of it, just trust us, we’re good guys and we understand what’s going on,’ well that really would not be responsible for us to just assume that, we need to make absolutely sure that their practices are in compliance with the law, and until we’re satisfied that that’s the case, we will continue to pursue this on behalf of the people.”

“I’m hopeful that they just haven’t really thought it through, and that there are good people there, and that they will sit down and, working with our people and other advocates, come up with something that is very reasonable, that is very transparent, that if anybody heard would say it was fair. That’s the way it should be done,” Carson elaborated, adding, “Certainly one would naturally think about the further ramifications of this kind of technology, and it would certainly lead to other areas, and I think that’s why the Department of Justice and other agencies have their antenna up too, and we all have to keep our antenna up, recognizing that things creep into a society. Some of the horrible things that happened in the past, that just crept in and became all normalized, and people became numb to it. We can’t allow that to happen again.”

After being asked why HUD is starting with Facebook, and not Google or Twitter, Carson responded, “Well we have to start with someone. There was clear cut evidence that they were allowing their advertising platform to be used in a discriminatory manner. There were blatant things like a button you could push that would exclude all women, or exclude all men, and these are protected classes. You simply can’t do that. There are others, obviously, who are going to be watching with great interest and hopefully modifying what they do so it won’t be necessary to pursue everybody, hopefully.”

Charlie Nash is a reporter for Breitbart Tech. You can follow him on Twitter, or like his page at Facebook.

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