A federal district court in the Northern District of California has dismissed a lawsuit brought against Facebook alleging that Facebook allowed housing advertisers to target users based on protected characteristics under the Fair Housing Act, finding that the plaintiffs failed to allege any injury that would create Article III standing.
This decision is very similar to, and indeed cites, a decision from the District of Maryland that we blogged about last month, which dismissed a similar lawsuit brought against several housing providers.
The precedent is starting to look very unfavorable for ad-targeting cases to be brought by private parties, with more of these decisions starting to emerge. And, as we noted in our prior blog, we wonder how enthusiastic regulatory agencies will be about pursuing similar claims when the federal courts appear to believe that ad targeting causes no consumer injury.
We assume that these decisions will be appealed, so we will be watching the appellate decisions, if and when they occur. But so far, the district courts appear to be very skeptical of these claims.