When Mark Zuckerberg testified before Congress this month, he was grilled on a whole host of topics. Members of Congress interrogated the Facebook CEO about the company’s plan for cryptocurrency; whether Facebook was violating antitrust laws; and its rules about political advertising.
Buried within the five hours of testimony was another important question: Does Facebook’s system for delivering advertisements reinforce discrimination on the basis of gender and race?
The answer, it appears, is yes. Alan Mislove, an associate professor at Northeastern who studies online social networks, recently turned his attention to Facebook’s ad-delivery algorithm, and found some troubling results.