Lawsuit: ACLU sues Facebook for its Discriminatory Job AD Targeting

Facebook has reached about 2.2 billion users worldwide in 2018, according to Forbes. It has provided individuals with a social platform to communicate and connect. More recently, Facebook has expanded into a job advertising platform, allowing employers to advertise job openings to Facebook users. In doing so, Facebook has engaged in a pattern, practice, and policy of targeting and sending specific job advertisements to male users and not sending those advertisements to women and older men.

On September 18, 2018, the ACLU, Outten & Golden LLP, and Communications Workers of America (CWA) filed suit, on behalf of three jobless women and millions of CWA’s job applicants against Facebook and 10 businesses for age and sex employment discrimination.

The charges were filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), a federal agency that is tasked with assessing whether employees have a claim against their employer for violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Act prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin by an employer.

Furthermore, the law prohibits the publication of segregated advertisements that express a preference for sex or age, according to the ACLU.

Facebook users when signing up for the website need to identify their sex, either as male or female, and then they are able to change their published Facebook gender identity after creating the account. The parties allege that in selecting Facebook’s options such as age and “All,” “Male, or “Female,” the platform is depriving them of opportunities based on sex and age.

Facebook will enable the employer who seeks to limit its audience for job opportunities. For instance, Facebook, through creating a discriminatory marketing framework, is encouraging employers to use their sex-based job preferences and then, delivering these segregated advertisements to users. Specifically, Facebook mandates that employers fill out specific filters which include location, age, and gender of the prospective employee which they are seeking and then executes this selection to a targeting population, according to the ACLU. The social media platform has continued to profit from this practice.

Consequently, the parties allege that Facebook’s use of personal data in directing advertisements, including segregated job advertisements, based on their sex and age deprived them of opportunities. The ACLU argues that Facebook should be held liable for manufacturing and delivering such discriminatory and segregated advertisement campaigns.


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