"The Secretary of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, through the Office of the General Counsel … hereby charges Respondent (Facebook) with engaging in discriminatory housing practices", the court documents said.
In the lawsuit, HUD alleges that Facebook used its platform to allow advertisers to limit the target audience of housing ads based on race, colour, religion, sex, familial status, nation of origin or disability.
"Facebook is discriminating against people based upon who they are and where they live", HUD Secretary Ben Carson said in a press release. "Using a computer to limit a person’s housing choices can be just as discriminatory as slamming a door in someone's face".
The government agency is seeking damages for any person who was harmed by Facebook's advertising system.
The changes came after Facebook settled a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union over its advertisement practices after the media revealed that the social network had continued to share the personal data of millions of its users without their consent.