The US government's regulatory noose around Facebook's parent company Meta is slowly starting to tighten as the social network was forced to settle a lawsuit accusing it of racist and discriminatory practices to the tune of $115,054.

The lawsuit was brought by the government under the auspices of the US District Attorney of New York City and accused Meta's algorithmic prowess of sеlectively showing real estate classifieds by segregating their target markets by categories based on "race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, and national origin," all things that are forbidden under the Fair Housing Act (FHA) regulations.

This effectively made the real estate ad displays on Facebook illegal and Meta was fined the maximum amount for a discriminatory practice like this. According to Damian Williams, US Attorney from the Southern District Court of New York:

When a company develops and deploys technology that deprives users of housing opportunities based in whole or in part on protected characteristics, it has violated the FHA, just as when companies engage in discriminatory advertising using more traditional advertising methods.

Because of this ground-breaking lawsuit, Meta will—for the first time—change its ad delivery system to address algorithmic discrimination. But if Meta fails to demonstrate that it has sufficiently changed its delivery system to guard against algorithmic bias, this Office will proceed with the litigation.