Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) has been sued over gender and age discrimination for denying the financial services ads to women and older people. A plaintiff, a 54-year old woman, stipulated that the financial services ads on Facebook have been sidelining women and old age people for the last three years. The lawsuit describes an old person as one with at least 40 years. The complainant wants the company to allow all categories of people to have the financial services information regardless of their gender and age.
The petition intends to block Facebook and its advertisers from discriminating against the two vulnerable groups. The ads display information on how one can access financial services such as loans, bank accounts, insurance services, and investments. Facebook stated that it is not aware of the allegations though it is investigating the matter and will make tremendous changes accordingly.
Discriminatory and Purposive Targeting
Facebook has been in and out of courts severally due to alleged discriminatory and purposive ad targeting. Therefore, the recent lawsuit is not the first case Facebook is being accused of discriminatory advertising. There have been several lawsuits filed against the giant social media company. For instance, since 2016, Facebook has been under scrutiny for alleged discrimination against particular people based on gender, class, age, ethnicity, and other population characteristics. The company operates ads systems that automatically exclude some people from seeing adverts. In 2018, Outten & Golden filed a similar complaint against Facebook for discriminating job seekers through recruitment ads that sidelined other classes of people.
Facebook ads platform has been scrutinized for allowing advertisers to target a particular audience using mechanisms that filter out people based on some group characteristics. Recently, Facebook was put on spot for violating the rights of employees in California by denying people equal opportunities and privileges based on gender, race, and medical condition. Similarly, several companies have been accused of purposive targeting of particular people. For instance, General Motors was once blamed for denying providing women and old age people the same features in a car as that of men and young people.