Monday Morning Cup of Coffee: Facebook ends easy racial discrimination in housing ads


Monday Morning Cup of Coffee takes a look at news coming across the HousingWire weekend desk, with more coverage to come on bigger issues.

Facebook recently came under fire for its policies which allow for racial discrimination in its housing advertisements.

This selective advertising is a clear violation of the Fair Housing Act, however Facebook denied any wrongdoing.

Now, the company announced that marketers placing housing, employment or credit ads will not be able to target people by ethnicity, according to an article by Sapna Maheshwari and Mike Isaac for The New York Times.

Even with the new change, Facebook still did not admit to wrongdoing, but instead stated that disabling the ability to advertise by ethnicity was a better option.

From the article:

“There are many nondiscriminatory uses of our ethnic affinity solution in these areas, but we have decided that we can best guard against discrimination by suspending these types of ads,” Erin Egan, Facebook’s chief privacy officer, said in a blog post on Friday.

The option is still available to advertisers outside of the realm of housing, employment or credit ads.

While the upcoming term of President-elect Donald Trump could bring less regulation to the industry, a new kind of regulation is emerging: cybersecurity.

Federal agencies are pushing for enhanced regulation for cybersecurity, however in New York that push became a proposal, according to an article by The National Law Review.

The proposed regulation would apply to most entities “operating under or required to operate under a license, registration, charter, certificate, permit, accreditation or similar authorization under the banking law, the insurance law or the financial services law,” according to the article.

From the article:

The scope of the Proposed New York Requirements is very broad. For example, they define “Nonpublic Information” as any information that is not public record or widely known and falls into one of four categories, including any information a person provides to a Covered Entity in connection with seeking or obtaining a product or service, or that a Covered Entity obtains in connection with providing a financial product or service. In combination, these categories likely include any information that is not already obtainable from government records or “widely distributed media.”

The Proposed New York Requirements would task covered entities to develop a Cybersecurity Program that can (1) identify internal and external risks, (2) use defensive infrastructure, (3) detect Cybersecurity Events, (4) respond to and mitigate such events, (5) recover and restore normal operations and services and (6) fulfill reporting obligations.

But regulation isn’t the only change Trump is bringing with him. The time for the new president-elect to take his place as president is rapidly approaching, and he has some decisions to make first.

Trump has 15 cabinet positions that he needs to fill, and he is already narrowing down his options.

Among those closest to the financial industry is the Treasury Secretary. Here are the options Trump’s team is considering so far, according to an article by The New York Times.

  • Thomas Barrack: Founder, chairman and executive chairman of Colony Capital; private equity and real estate investor
  • Jeb Hensarling: Representative from Texas and chairman of the House Financial Services Committee
  • Steven Mnuchin: Former Goldman Sachs executive and Trump’s campaign finance chairman
  • Tim Pawlenty: Former Minnesota governor

Trump also narrowed down his choices for Commerce Secretary, who is in charge of a diverse portfolio, including the Census and the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

  • Chris Christie: New Jersey governor
  • Dan DiMicco: Former chief executive of Nucor Corporation, a steel production company
  • Lewis Eisenberg: Private equity chief for Granite Capital International Group

So far there is only one name up for consideration for the Labor secretary, who dispenses the monthly jobs report, among other things.

  • Victoria Lipnic: Equal Employment Opportunity commissioner and work force policy counsel to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce

For a list of people being considered for all 15 cabinet positions, click here.

Among the list of possible new members in Trump’s administration is Pam Patenaude, current president of the J. Ronald Terwilliger Foundation for Housing America’s Families, who could soon be the next HUD secretary.

While housing did not get much focus during the campaign trails, Patenaude is now seeking to ensure that it gets the attention it needs during the next presidency.

This Friday, the J. Ronald Terwilliger Foundation for Housing America’s Families will host a full day national Housing Forum at the George W. Bush Institute in my hometown of Dallas, Texas, of which HousingWire is a media sponsor.

Speakers at the Forum will include top Congressional leaders and individuals likely to play prominent roles in the presidential transition process and the incoming Administration as well as key housing industry leaders and practitioners. The list of speakers includes Matthew Desmond, author of Evicted, Carol Galante, former assistant HUD secretary and FHA Commissioner and Laurie Goodman from the Urban Institute.

To register for Friday’s event, click here.

That’s it for this weekend. Have a great start to your week and we hope to see you Friday!!

Leave a Reply