Facebook’s ad-serving algorithm discriminates by gender and race

Algorithms are biased—and Facebook’s is no exception.

Just last week, the tech giant was sued by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development over the way it let advertisers purposely target their ads by race, gender, and religion—all protected classes under US law. The company announced that it would stop allowing this.

But new evidence shows that Facebook’s algorithm, which automatically decides who is shown an ad, carries out the same discrimination anyway, serving up ads to over two billion users on the basis of their demographic information.