A lawsuit was filed on Wednesday against several employers in the United States who are now accused of age discrimination after placing recruitment ads on Facebook that specifically target younger job-seekers. Although Facebook itself is not a defendant in this particular case, the social networking giant is also accused of engaging in these practices in its own recruitment efforts, though this was denied in a recent official statement by the company. This isn't the first time the social media firm has been under such fire this year as it was also recently accused of assisting marketers in targeting teenagers who may feel anxious or insecure.
According to reports, three of the companies named as defendants in the lawsuit include T-Mobile, Amazon, and Cox Communications, all of which have been accused of imposing age limits on who can see their recruitment ads placed on Facebook. While T-Mobile and Cox have not commented on the matter, Amazon recently stated that it has fixed some of its ads after discovering that they were not falling in lines with the company's approach to searching for any candidate over the age of 18. But according to images attached to the complaint, some of these ads claimed to be targeted at people of ages 18 to 54 located near Silver Spring Maryland. Meanwhile, a different Facebook ad for T-Mobile states that it targets people between ages of 18 and 38.
Although Facebook itself doesn’t count among the defendants, the lawsuit seems to exemplify the issue with Facebook and its so-called micro-targeting process that allows advertisers to choose their target audience for ads based on various criteria including interests, age, race, and even according to an individual’s inclinations to dislike people based on religion or race. Having said that, Facebook did recently say that it will temporarily disable the possibility for advertisers to exclude racial groups from their ads and followed on that with a promise that it will improve its policies and “do better” against discriminatory business practices. Meanwhile, the lead attorney handling the case, Peter Romer-Friedman, said many companies nowadays rely on social media for recruiting new employees, and these practices of targeting specific audiences harm other job-seekers. More defendants are planned to be added to the case and reportedly, lawyers are aiming to elevate the case to a class-action status. Last year, Facebook was also accused of listening in on its users through their smartphones, though the social giant refuted these claims.