Monday, 23 July, 2018

Too old for work? Facebook job ads selectively ignoring older job seekers

Yesterday Yesterday
Elsie Buchanan | 22 December, 2017, 00:28

"Used responsibly, age-based targeting for employment purposes is an accepted industry practice and for good reason".

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

The complaint of the union says, these companies used Facebook ad-targeting technology and refuses job opportunities to individuals who are searching for and interested in jobs. "They may have an obligation there not to aid and abet an ad that enables discrimination", said Cliff Palefsky, a San Francisco employment lawyer added. Similar to how ProPublica illustrated previous year and again just last month how housing ads on Facebook could exclude users by so-called "ethnic" and "multicultural" affinities, this new report shows how the social network also lets advertisers exclude certain age groups for job ads.

"These individual ads are part of broader-based recruitment efforts created to reach all ages and all backgrounds", Goldman said of Facebook's use of age-targeted employment ads.

"These companies eliminate older workers from receiving job ads by specifically targeting their employment ads to younger workers via Facebook's ad platform", the suit alleges, displaying two images reportedly from Facebook.

ProPublica also collected the database of Facebook ads to find out how often and precisely employers recruited based on age. ProPublica bought job ads on Google and LinkedIn that excluded audiences older than 40 - and the ads were instantly approved.

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The lawsuit follows an investigation by The New York Times and ProPublica that found Verizon, Goldman Sachs, Target and Facebook itself were among a list of major employers that targeted recruitment ads, the media outlets said. In early 2017, the social media platform launched a section devoted to just job ads. Job postings were allegedly tailored for younger users and restricted visibility to people outside of predetermined age ranges.

But the company defended the practice of filtering ads by age group, noting that a candidate's age can be an important factor for employers.

Amazon, T-Mobile and hundreds of other companies are discriminating against older workers by limiting the audience for their Facebook advertisements to only reach younger users, according to a massive proposed class action filed in California federal court on Wednesday.

Instead of claim that it wants to do better, as Facebook has with regards to racially discriminatory housing ads, the company seems to be taking a far more defensive stance here.

Others insisted the Facebook ads were part of a broader recruitment plan aimed at people of all ages. As proof of Facebook's foul, ProPublica pointed to a cache of ads seen by readers in their news feed, including from Amazon, Northwestern Mutual, Verizon, USPS and even Facebook.

"Anyone can buy Teen Vogue and see an ad. Online, however, people outside the targeted age groups can be excluded in ways they will never learn about", the report said.

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