The Platform of Scandals: Facebook’s Discrim...

The Platform of Scandals: Facebook’s Discriminatory Advertising

Facebook sure is having a bad moment.

First we were confronted with the shocking revelation of privacy infringement in the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Not only did it lead to a trial for Mark Zuckerberg, but the social media giant underwent massive losses in its followers. Set to lose 2.1 million users in the US alone, Facebook had stocks plummeting, leading to a 20% loss. Now the so called social media champion has hit another scandal.

Controversial Advertising

It’s come to light that the platform encourages advertisers to direct certain job ads exclusively at men in certain male-dominated industries like law enforcement, roof tiling and truck driving. In a time where the discussion surrounding equal gender representation is so dominant, the move is not only ignorant, but also inexcusable.

Social rights campaigners and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) claim that Facebook is actively encouraging employers to exclude women from job opportunities, and is promoting discrimination. This has led to ACLU filing a complaint with the US Labour equality watchdog against Facebook.

“In creating and carrying out these targeting mechanisms, Facebook has created and profited from a powerful tool for discrimination against female and other non-male job applicants,” the complaint said.

“Facebook has long known that employers and employment agencies were using its platform to discriminate on the basis of gender, and (has) encouraged that behaviour, rather than attempting to eliminate it.”

One of the revelatory ads was for a police department in North Carolina that targeted men aged between 25 and 35 in Philadelphia. Another advert showed a male tradie on a ladder and was targeted at men aged 21 to 55 who live or were recently in Maryland, according to the complaint.

The ACLU accused Facebook of discrimination, saying the company violated federal and state laws prohibiting businesses from excluding women from job ads

Source: AP

Facebook’s targeting features lets advertisers limit their ads to specific demographics and characteristics to get the most value for their money.

The complaint claims Facebook has “built the architecture for this discriminatory marketing framework, enabled and encouraged advertisers to use it, and delivered the gender-based ads according to employers’ sex-based preferences”.

This is definitely not the first time Facebook has been accused for discriminatory ads. In July, the company was forced to sign an agreement to stop discriminating based on race for housing ads in America.

This led to the company deleting more than 5000 ad-targeting options to prevent advertisers from discriminating on the basis of traits such as religion or race.

With the act of discrimination among potential employees on the basis of gender or age being illegal in the US, it’s only a matter of time before Zuckerberg has to stand trial once again.

Stay tuned for more Business News!