Facebook has found itself embroiled in a scandal again. A complaint has been filed with the US government accusing Facebook and 10 other companies of using the platform’s job ad targeting system to discriminate on the basis of gender.
The complaint has been filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Outten & Golden LLP, an employment law firm on behalf of three female job seekers and a group of “thousands” of members represented by the union, before the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a federal agency that handles claims of workplace discrimination and other civil rights abuses.
The complaint charges that job ads on Facebook targeted male users only. It also alleges that most of the listings were for jobs in male-dominated fields, so women and non-binary users were excluded from seeing these ads.
The women job seekers accused Facebook of targeting advertisements 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.
Galen Sherwin, an attorney with the ACLU Women's Rights Project, said in a statement, “Sex-segregated job advertising has historically been used to shut women out of well-paying jobs and economic opportunities.”
A Facebook spokesperson said in a statement that the company would review the complaint and that it looked forward to defending its advertising practices.
"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,” the spokesperson said.
Facebook will defend itself once it has reviewed the complaint, he added.
However, this is not the first time Facebook has faced this kind of criticism. Earlier, the company came under extensive scrutiny with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development accusing it for allowing housing advertisements to exclude people based on race and other protected factors. Facebook responded by cutting more than 5,000 ad-targeting options to prevent advertisers from discriminating on the basis of traits such as religion or race.