Discriminazione nelle ricerche di alloggi via Facebook: manca la prova

Una domanda di accertamento di violazione del Fair Housing Act e altre leggi analoghe statali (carenza di esiti – o ingiustificata differenza di esiti rispetto ad altro soggetto di diversa etnia- dalle ricerche presuntivamente perchè eseguite da account di etnia c.d. Latina) è rigettata per carenza di prova.

Da noi si v. spt. il d. lgs. 9 luglio 2003 n. 216 e  il d . lgs. di pari data n° 215 (autore di riferimento sul tema è il prof. Daniele Maffeis in moltri scritti tra cui questo).

Nel mondo anglosassone , soprattutto statunitense, c’è un’enormità di scritti sul tema: si v. ad es. Rebecca Kelly Slaughter-Janice Kopec & Mohamad Batal, Algorithms and Economic Justice: A Taxonomy of Harms and a Path Forward for the Federal Trade Commission, Yale Journal of Law & Technology

Il giudice così scrive:

<In sum, what the plaintiffs have alleged is that they each used Facebook to search for housing based on identified criteria and that no results were returned that met their criteria. They assume (but plead no facts to support) that no results were returned because unidentified advertisers theoretically used Facebook’s Targeting Ad tools to exclude them based on their protected class statuses from seeing paid Ads for housing that they assume (again ,with no facts alleged in support) were available and would have otherwise met their criteria. Plaintiffs’ claim  that Facebook denied them access to unidentified Ads is the sort of generalized grievance that is insufficient to support standing. See, e.g., Carroll v. Nakatani, 342 F.3d 934, 940 (9th Cir. 2003) (“The Supreme Court has repeatedly refused to recognize a generalized grievance against allegedly illegal government conduct as sufficient to confer standing” and when “a government  actor discriminates on the basis of race, the resulting injury ‘accords a basis for standing only to those persons who are personally denied equal treatment.’” (quoting Allen v. Wright, 468 U.S. 737, 755 (1984)).9 Having failed to plead facts supporting a plausible injury in fact sufficient to confer standing on any plaintiff, the TAC is DISMISSED with prejudice>.

Così il Northern District of California 20 agosto 2021, Case 3:19-cv-05081-WHO , Vargas c. Facebook .

Il quale poi dice che anche rigattando quanto sorpa, F. srebbe protetta dal safe harbour ex § 230 CDA e ciò nonostante il noto precedente Roommates del 2008, dal quale il caso sub iudice si differenzia:

<<Roommates is materially distinguishable from this case based on plaintiffs’ allegations in the TAC that the nowdefunct Ad Targeting process was made available by Facebook for optional use by advertisers placing a host of different types of paidadvertisements.10 Unlike in Roommates where use of the discriminatory criteria was mandated, here use of the tools was neither mandated nor inherently discriminatory given the design of the tools for use by a wide variety of advertisers.

In Dyroff, the Ninth Circuit concluded that tools created by the website creator there, “recommendations and notifications” the website sent to users based on the users inquiries that ultimately connected a drug dealer and a drug purchaser did not turn the defendant who ontrolled the website into a content creator unshielded by CDA immunity. The panel confirmed that the tools were “meant to facilitate the communication and content of others. They are not content in and of themselves.” Dyroff, 934 F.3d 1093, 1098 (9th Cir. 2019), cert. denied, 140 S. Ct. 2761 (2020); see also Carafano v. Metrosplash.com, Inc., 339 F.3d 1119, 1124 (9th Cir. 2003) (where website “questionnaire facilitated the expression of information by individual users” including proposing sexually suggestive phrases that could facilitate the development of libelous profiles, but left “selection of the content [] exclusively to the user,” and defendant was not “responsible, even in part, for associating certain multiple choice responses with a set of physical characteristics, a group of essay answers, and a photograph,” website operator was not information content provider falling outside Section 230’s immunity); Goddard v. Google, Inc., 640 F. Supp. 2d 1193, 1197 (N.D. Cal. 2009) (no liability based on Google’s use of “Keyword Tool,” that  employs “an algorithm to suggest specific keywords to advertisers”).  

Here, the Ad Tools are neutral. It is the users “that ultimately determine what content to  post, such that the tool merely provides ‘a framework that could be utilized for proper or improper  purposes, . . . .’” Roommates, 521 F.3d at 1172 (analyzing Carafano). Therefore, even if the plaintiffs could allege facts supporting a plausible injury, their claims are barred by Section 230.>>

(notizia e link alla sentenza dal blog di Eric Goldman)