ACLU Sues Facebook And 10 Others For Targeting Young Men In Job Ads

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Written by Ann Brown

Women in technical roles at Facebook make up 22 percent of the workforce, and 30 percent of senior leadership roles. If the company is committed to diversity as it has claimed to be, it would seem odd if Facebook is looking to hire more men.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is suing Facebook and 10 advertisers over ads it says are discriminatory because they target male employees exclusively.

The ACLU filed a lawsuit accusing Facebook and 10 of its advertisers of gender discrimination, calling into question a tool on the social network that allows employers to run employment ads aimed exclusively at male users, the Huffington Post reported.

The suit was filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and accuses Facebook of “reviving an era when newspapers printed job listings in male and female columns, which largely excluded women from high-paying work, and of reneging on promises to protect its users from having their data used against them.”

“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,” ACLU attorney Galen Sherwin wrote in an announcement about the lawsuit.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg makes the keynote speech at F8, Facebook’s developer conference, Tuesday, May 1, 2018, in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

 

Besides Facebook, the lawsuit also names as defendants the following companies:

  • Abas USA
  • Defenders
  • Nebraska Furniture Mart
  • The City of Greensboro North Carolina
  • Need Work Today
  • Renewal by Andersen LLC
  • Rice Tire
  • JK Moving Services
  • Enhanced Roofing & Modeling
  • Xenit.

The suit says the 10 named employers and employment agency advertisers ran discriminatory jobs in “mostly” male-dominated fields, including a police department, multiple retailers, a software development firm and various installation, repair and remodelling companies, Techcrunch reported.

“I’ve heard stories about when people looked for jobs in the classified ads and big bold letters read ‘help wanted-male’ or ‘help wanted-female.’ I was shocked to find that this discrimination is still happening, just online instead of in newspapers,” said Bobbi Spees, a job-seeker and lead complainant in the case, in a statement.  “I shouldn’t be shut out of the chance to hear about a job opportunity just because I am a woman.”

Facebook has denounced the lawsuit. Facebook spokesman Joe Osborne released the following statement: “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. We are reviewing the complaint and look forward to defending our practices.”