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Job Seeking Women Sue Facebook For Posting Job Ads Just For Men

It's important to note that online platforms like Facebook are generally not liable for content published by others

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LinkedIn faced probe for Facebook ads targeting 18 mn non-members. Pixabay
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The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is suing Facebook on behalf of three women job seekers who accused the social media giant of posting ads that are shown only to men.

The ACLU, along with the Communications Workers of America and the employment law firm Outten & Golden LLP, on Tuesday filed charges with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against Facebook.

The women job seekers accused Facebook for targeting ads for jobs in male-dominated fields to younger male Facebook users only — excluding all women and non-binary individuals, as well as older male users.

“The case is brought on behalf of three job seekers and the Communications Workers of America, on behalf of a proposed class of millions of job applicants. It alleges that these job advertising practices violate federal civil rights laws prohibiting sex and age discrimination in employment,” Galen Sherwin from ACLU Women’s Rights Project wrote in a blog post.

Facebook requires users to identify their sex in the binary categories of male or female in order to even open an account.

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Facebook, social media. Pixabay

“While users can later change their sex designation and select from among a few dozen options to describe their gender identity, Facebook still requires users to choose gendered pronouns (male, female, or neutral), which it then offers to advertisers for purposes of gender-based ad targeting.

“Facebook delivers the ad accordingly, including a notice that the user is seeing the ad because of their sex,” the ACLU said.

The lawsuit claimed that Facebook let 10 employers, including a police department, to run advertisements excluding women and nonbinary users.

Facebook responded to the allegations, saying 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,” Download reported, quoting a Facebook spokesperson.

Facebook is “reviewing the complaint and look forward to defending our practices,” the spokesperson added.

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Facebook App on a smartphone device. (VOA)

According to the ACLU, Facebook also offers advertisers the ability to use what it calls “Lookalike Targeting,” which allows advertisers to target customers with traits similar to those of their customer base.

It’s important to note that online platforms like Facebook are generally not liable for content published by others.

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“But in this case, Facebook is doing much more than merely publishing content created by others. It 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,” the ACLU emphasised.

Facebook must change its platform to prevent advertisers from exploiting user data for discriminatory purposes, and ensure once and for all that all users, regardless of gender, race, age, or other protected status, are given a fair shake, said the ACLU. (IANS)

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Australia Proposes To Strengthen Regulations of Facebook, Google

Facebook has 17 million monthly users in Australia -- 68 per cent of its population -- while Instagram, second most popular site in terms of users - which is owned by Facebook, has 11 million users

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Australia recommends strengthening regulation of Facebook, Google. Pixabay

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) on Monday proposed measures to counter the dominant market positions of Google and Facebook and strengthen monitoring on their access to information, advertising and consumers personal data.

The regulatory body, which recommended 11 preliminary measures in the report, was directed to conduct a public inquiry into the impact of digital search engines, social media platforms and other digital content in 2017 by then treasurer and current Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

“Acting as an intermediary between consumers and news outlets, platforms are inherently influential in shaping consumers’ choices of digital journalism,” said the report cited by Efe news.

This influential position and filtration of news items could place the consumer in a so-called filter bubble, increasing the risk of consumers being exposed to unreliable news, according to the report.

“The algorithms operated by each of Google and Facebook, as well as other policies, determine which content is surfaced and displayed to consumers in news feed and search results,” it said.

“The ACCC considers that the strong market position of digital platforms like Google and Facebook justifies a greater level of regulatory oversight,” Chair Rod Sims said.

Facebook
Facebook, social media. Pixabay

The commission called for the creation of a regulatory authority with powers to monitor these digital platforms and recommended establishing an automatic mechanism to take down content that violates copyright.

The ACCC said consumers should be informed about the manner in which these platforms collect and use their data to create personalized advertising.

This would include a reform of privacy laws to require the user’s express consent to data collection and “enable consumers to require erasure of their personal information where they have withdrawn their consent”.

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ACCC said that it found that “competition may have been distorted in multiple sectors where consumer data is used”.

Facebook has 17 million monthly users in Australia — 68 per cent of its population — while Instagram, second most popular site in terms of users – which is owned by Facebook, has 11 million users.

In 2017, Google registered 90 per cent of search traffic originating from Australian desktops and 98 per cent from mobile phones. (IANS)