In 1967, the National Organization for Women protested The New York Times, among other newspapers, for their gender-specific classified ads. With the enforcement of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, race and sex discrimination in employment were simply prohibited and sex-segregated classified ads seemed to become passé.
However, through social media platforms such as Facebook, advertisers are once again discriminating against women by targeting their ads to men. Advertisers are now using the personal data of users to direct their ads, such as job openings, to other users based upon their characteristics.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Communications Workers of America, and an employment law firm filed charges with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against Facebook and 10 other companies that were involved with targeting ads toward male-dominated fields by only sending them to male users, not female or non-binary. The class action suit alleges that this method of targeted job advertisements violates federal law. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 explicitly forbids the publication of segregated advertisements based upon a protected class of people.
The Problem with Lookalike Targeting
Facebook offers Lookalike Targeting for advertisers to target users based upon whether they are like those who already work for them. One of the biggest problems with this is that if a company is not diverse and Facebook is only targeting those who look like its current employees, it will perpetually discriminate and remain non-diverse.
Compounding the issue is the fact that once the ads are clicked on, they lead to a page that lists several other job positions at the same companies. For those who are not sent the initial job posting, they have no opportunity to see these ads, let alone apply to them, even though they may be highly qualified.
Liability for the Content of Others
Though online platforms such as Facebook are usually not liable for content that has been published by others, this case is unique in that Facebook did not merely allow job posters to publish their content but had a strong hand in building the discriminatory framework, enabled advertisers to use it, and was also responsible for distributing it. This is not the first time that Facebook has landed in hot water for enabling sex discrimination within its site. This past summer, the company agreed to remove 5,000 ads targeting a specified race or sexual orientation.
Montgomery County Employment Discrimination Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Advocate for Those Discriminated Against in the Workplace
If you or someone you love has been the victim of sexual harassment, it is important to get what you deserve and for the individuals involved to be held accountable. Contact a Montgomery County sexual harassment lawyer at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. at 215-569-1999 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia, we proudly serve clients from the surrounding areas, including Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, and Montgomery County.