Congressman Cleaver Urges Facebook to Change Alleged Discriminatory Advertising Practices

Nov 2, 2016
Press Release
(Washington D.C.) – Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, II joined Congresswoman Robin Kelly and other Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Members in sending a letter to Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. The letter, which can be found here, addresses reports of advertisers on Facebook, using a customization feature that excludes racial and ethnic groups when placing housing advertisements online. The customization feature allows for an “Ethnic Affinities” selection. By allowing online advertisers to promote or market a certain community for home sales, Facebook is therefore promoting restrictive housing practices. “This is a direct violation of the Fair Housing Act of 1968 and it is our strong desire to see Facebook address this issue immediately,” stated the letter, signed by Congressman Cleaver, CBC Chairman G.K. Butterfield (D-NC), Congresswoman Robin Kelly (D-IL), and Congresswoman Yvette Clark (D-NY). “Facebook may not have intentionally created this feature to separate communities, but there are minority families who have not seen or heard of the housing opportunities and sales that are being marketed and made available to others. Everyone should have the same opportunity to see what’s available to them,” said Congressman Cleaver. The Members are asking Mr. Zuckerberg to correct this customization feature in online housing advertisements. It is also important that technology industries like Facebook include more African Americans and minorities within their workforce to promote diversity and prevent future discriminatory practices. For more information, please contact Heather Frierson at 816-842-4545 or Emanuel Cleaver, II is the U.S. Representative for Missouri’s Fifth Congressional District, which includes Kansas City, Independence, Lee's Summit, Raytown, Grandview, Sugar Creek, Blue Springs, Grain Valley, Oak Grove, North Kansas City, Gladstone, Claycomo, and all of Ray, Lafayette, and Saline Counties. He is a member of the exclusive House Financial Services Committee, the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance, and also a Senior Whip of the Democratic Caucus. A high-resolution photo of Congressman Cleaver is available here.