Daily Management Review

Case Alleging Discriminatory Ads Against Women & Older People Filed Against Facebook


Case Alleging Discriminatory Ads Against Women & Older People Filed Against Facebook
Yet another controversy has hit Facebook.
This time around the largest social media platform of the world has been accused to allowing the use of ad targeting tools on its platforms that arguably have been used for excluding women and older people from availing financial services such as offers for loans and investments. A lawsuit alleging discrimination has also been filed against the company.
The discrimination law suit has been filed by two law firms at a federal court in San Francisco on behalf of a 54-year-old woman residing in Washington. The law firms said that the law suit will urge the court to allow the case to be treated as a class-action law suit.
"Women and older persons are entitled to full and equal services of businesses such as Facebook, and the financial services companies that advertise on Facebook's platform," attorney Matthew Handley said in a statement.
"Purposeful targeting of advertisements away from these members of our community unlawfully denies them these guarantees," the statement added.
The specific tools that the law suit talks about and is used on the Facebook platform allows messages and advertisements related to financial services form companies to only be targeted at Facebook users of specific age ranges or genders and therefore such usage of the tools directly denies such benefits and offers to women and older people, argues the law suit.
The complaint is being reviewed by it, Facebook said in response to the reports of the law suit.
"We've made significant changes to how housing, employment and credit opportunities are run on Facebook and continue to work on ways to prevent potential misuse," a spokeswoman for the leading social network told AFP. "Our policies have long prohibited discrimination and we're proud of the strides we're making in this area."
Earlier this year, Facebook got into a settlement with activist groups who had alleged that the social media platform had discriminated in messages on jobs, housing, credit and other services. In reference to that settlement agreement, the company had said that the process of how targeted advertisement is used by it was under review. The company had announced at that time that no specific targeting on the basis of age, gender or zip code for housing, employment or credit ads would be allowed by it because it believed that such action actually amounted to discrimination.
According to the law firms involved in the new suit, in that settlement, Facebook agreed to take "far-reaching measures to stop advertisers from using age, gender, and other protected traits to target job, housing, and credit ads," according to the law firms involved in the new suit.
"Today's lawsuit alleges that Facebook has not taken any action to stop advertisers from excluding older persons and women from getting financial services ads on Facebook, other than in the limited area of credit ads," the law firms said.