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Recode Daily: HUD is filing charges against Facebook for its ad targeting practices

Plus: Apple may be making it easier to do outside product repairs, what Lyft’s IPO means for everyday people, and how companies are using personal photos to train facial recognition algorithms.

A picture of Ben Carson talking.
Ben Carson, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which is the government agency filing charges against Facebook.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Shirin Ghaffary is a senior Vox correspondent covering the social media industry. Previously, Ghaffary worked at BuzzFeed News, the San Francisco Chronicle, and TechCrunch.

The US government says Facebook’s ad business creates housing discrimination. On Thursday, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) filed charges against Facebook, arguing that the company’s ad platform allows advertisers to unlawfully exclude people from viewing housing ads based on characteristics such as race, national origin, and religion. Google and Twitter, meanwhile, have also been scrutinized by the agency for the same reason, according to the Washington Post. As Kurt Wagner writes, “The claims against Facebook by government agencies are piling up, and it’s only a matter of time before a shoe drops — it’s just unclear what shoe it will be, and how much it will hurt.”
[Kurt Wagner / Recode]

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Companies are using pictures of people without their permission in order to train facial recognition AI. As Fortune’s Jeff John Roberts writes, “firms have obtained millions of images by harvesting them via photo apps on people’s phones.” That photo-organizing app you installed years ago? It could be using your personal pictures to train facial recognition technology. Because the new field of facial recognition software is largely unregulated, in many cases these scenarios are also perfectly legal, though of concern to many consumer privacy advocates.
[Jeff John Roberts / Fortune]

Apple may be making it easier for you to repair your iPhone on your own. According to leaked internal documents obtained by Motherboard, the company is giving greater access to third parties in order to diagnose, repair, and sell parts for Apple products including iPhones and MacBooks. Previously, Apple and other manufacturers across industries have “monopolized the repair of their devices,” according to Motherboard, by “implementing software that prevents repair” and by “tightly controlling the sale of replacement parts to independent companies.” The documents seem to show that Apple may be following guidelines laid out in right-to-repair legislation that has been introduced in 20 states.
[Jason Koebler / Motherboard]

Lyft’s IPO is the beginning of a new era. As Teddy Schleifer writes, the ride-share company’s public debut will “mark a moment in the broadening of the modern relationship between Silicon Valley and the American economy.” That’s because Lyft, along with other major tech startups like Slack and Uber, are set to go public this year. Well-connected tech investors have been betting on some of these companies’ future for over a decade, but now everyday people will be able to as well.
[Theodore Schleifer / Recode]

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