July 1, 2019 / 8:15 PM / 19 days ago

New York Governor Cuomo orders probe into Facebook's advertising platform

FILE PHOTO: Stickers bearing the Facebook logo are pictured at Facebook Inc's F8 developers conference in San Jose, California, U.S., April 30, 2019. REUTERS/Stephen Lam/File Photo

(Reuters) - New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Monday ordered the U.S. Department of Financial Services to investigate reports that state-regulated advertisers were using Facebook Inc’s advertising platform in a discriminatory manner.

This is the second investigation that the state governor has ordered into the social media company this year.

In February, Cuomo ordered two state agencies to investigate a report that Facebook may be accessing far more personal information from smartphone users, including health and other sensitive data, than had previously been known.

On Monday, Cuomo cited reports which said the social network allows advertisers to modify or block ads using ZIP code information to exclude consumers based on race, color, national origin, religion, familial status, sex and disability, among other classifications.

Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The company is facing a similar probe at the federal level, in which the Trump administration has accused Facebook of selling targeted advertising that discriminated on the basis of race, in violation of the U.S. Fair Housing Act.

The probes have come despite Facebook agreeing in March to overhaul its paid advertising platform, as part of a wide-ranging settlement with U.S. civil rights groups, which had filed five separate lawsuits accusing the company of enabling discrimination in advertising.

Reporting by Munsif Vengattil in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta

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