Facebook is being sued for hiding job ads from women

Facebook under fire for job ads that let companies exclude women, other employment seekers

Backing the complaint is the Communications Workers of America labor union, which a year ago filed a proposed class action lawsuit in California alleging Facebook allows discrimination against older workers by excluding them from job ads.

The complaint also targets 10 employers that used Facebook to post job ads - for roles as police officers, truck drivers and sales representatives at a sports store - that were exclusively targeted to men, according to images of ads in the complaint.

"The employers for those jobs are probably thinking they need to fill them with people who look like the people who now hold those jobs".

"Facebook helps the employer to create the ad; collects, develops and provides databases of information on Facebook users to employers so that such employers can know which individuals are looking for employment, know various types of information about those applicants, such as their age and gender, and exclude certain groups of people from their ad campaigns". Targeting job ads by gender is illegal under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The ACLU says that the women, as well as the union's other female and other non-male members, have "routinely been denied the opportunity" to receive job ads and recruitment on Facebook that their male counterparts received.

"What's more, clicking on the Facebook ads brought viewers to a page listing numerous other job opportunities at these companies for which job seekers might be qualified", the ACLU said in a statement.

A Facebook spokesperson said in an emailed statement: "There is no place for discrimination on Facebook; it's strictly prohibited in our policies, and over the past year, we've strengthened our systems to further protect against misuse". "We look forward to defending our practices".

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"While Facebook will do its best to satisfy regulations and make small adjustments, they won't actually make any decisions that will drastically affect their business model which allows it to hyper-segment consumers", he added. When the men clicked on Facebook's "Why am I seeing this?" feature, they could see that the ads were targeted to them in part due to their gender.

Mundel says, more broadly, Facebook could apply more oversight to determine if employers are appropriately and legally applying targeting for specific ad purposes. The charges also allege that Facebook allowed the ads to target people based on age. That said, Facebook "has been swift to try and address the other problems when approached".

In the past, the company has faced criticism about its advertising platform and whether its systems allow for discrimination.

Facebook was recently accused on running discriminatory housing ads too.

Shortly after, Facebook said that it would fix the problem by removing over 5,000 unspecified ad-targeting options that companies could use to discriminate against people based on factors like ethnicity or religion.

According to the ACLU's charges, Facebook's discriminatory practices are alive and well. In a screenshot obtained by Pro Publica, advertisers could exclude African-American, Asian-American or "Hispanic (U.S. - Spanish dominant)" from seeing their housing ad.

Last December, three workers and CWA sued companies including T-Mobile and Amazon alleging they used Facebook's ad-targeting tools to exclude older Americans from job opportunities. The Department of Housing and Urban Development in August filed a complaint against Facebook, saying the social network lets landlords and home sellers choose who gets to see their ads based on race, color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin, disability and ZIP code.

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