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Facebook's Much Maligned Ad-Sales Program Apparently Ageist, Too

Facebook's Much Maligned Ad-Sales Program Apparently Ageist, Too

However, the report also quotes an employment lawyer who describes Facebook's tools as "blatantly unlawful".

Verizon is one of dozens of the leading employers in the USA including Goldman Sachs, Facebook, Target and Amazon that placed recruitment ads for limited aged groups, says a reported released by the New York Times and ProPublica.

Verizon placed a Facebook ad a few weeks ago to recruit applicants for its unit that focuses on financial analysis and planning.

A lawsuit was filed on Wednesday by the Communications Workers of America revealed several USA employers are actively promoting age discrimination targeting younger workers by placing recruitment ads on Facebook. "Advertisers, not Facebook, are responsible for both the content of their ads and what targeting criteria to use, if any", said the social media giant.

Now there's debate over whether that violates the 1968 Age Discrimination in Employment Act.

Facebook this year launched a section of its platform devoted to job ads. Facebook allows advertisers to select their audience, and then the Menlo Park company finds the chosen users with the extensive data it collects about members.




It's quite possible that the ads flagged by ProPublica are one component of a larger marketing campaign with elements targeted at all age groups. ProPublica bought job ads on Google and LinkedIn that excluded audiences older than 40 - and the ads were instantly approved.

The suit, which was brought by the Communications Workers of America in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, claims T-Mobile and others "routinely exclude older works job opportunities" through Facebook ads.

Others insisted the Facebook ads were part of a broader recruitment plan aimed at people of all ages.

Just like it's gotten caught red-handed allowing landlords to tailor ads excluding potential tenants on the basis of race or ethnicity or anyone to purchase ads targeting groups like "Jew haters," Facebook has apparently been helping dozens of companies target employment ads only to those supple, hard-working youths. And just because some younger users see age-targeted ads in their news feed, which they're only seeing because they fall into the target demo, doesn't mean that people older than 40 aren't seeing different age-targeted ads that people in the younger demo don't see.

After being contacted by ProPublica and the Times, other employers, including Amazon, Northwestern Mutual and the New York City Department of Education, said they had changed or were changing their recruiting strategies. Though it bears no legal responsibility for the content of the ads on its platform, various federal, state, and local statutes assign different levels of responsibility to the purveyors of ads, and it remains an open question whether Facebook's ad-targeting software can be considered to aid discrimination. In Amazon's case, for jobs at its distribution centers, it changed 18-50 to anyone over the age of 18.

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