Facebook’s never-ending problems
Facebook was the hype in our youth, now it is seen as a gathering place for the elderly. Therefore, the acquisition of Instagram was a very well-played move by Mark Zuckerberg to keep the company relative to advertisers. It also helped that Facebook has immense targeting abilities.
However, because it is very relevant and because Facebook can target people so precisely, it never gets out of trouble.
A few months ago, the Cambridge Analytica scandal led to series of events, which have forced Zuckerberg to testify before U.S. Congress. Facebook’s data was used by Cambridge Analytica to sway voters’ decisions in various elections, without the consent of the people whose data was being used.
Now, Facebook is in trouble with female job seekers.
According to USA Today, employers are using Facebook to target job ads for men only, excluding women and anyone who identifies as another gender from employment opportunities, according to a complaint filed Sept. 18 with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
The complaint, the first step before filing a discrimination lawsuit, is being brought against Facebook and nine employers on behalf of three women who say the ad filtering kept them from seeing job postings in male-dominated fields including construction, trucking and software. All but one of the job ads cited in the complaint were also targeted to younger workers. “I shouldn’t be shut out of the chance to hear about a job opportunity just because I am a woman,” Linda Bradley, a job seeker and complainant, said in a statement about the complaint.
Facebook always tries not to get involved in the targeting choices that its users or customers make. They say they are a platform and people are responsible in the ways they use their technology. Facebook has always said it cannot interfere with the targeting decisions as long as the content is legal. Meaning that you cannot put up an ad for a contract killer, but you can create an advertisement to change the outcome of an election even if you are an intelligence officer working on behalf of another country. Apparently you can also target women out of jobs too.
I wonder how many creative ways customers found to use Facebook’s targeting. For example, did global warming deniers use ads to change public opinion? Did the National Rifle Association (NRA) use it to show ads to teenagers about how fantastic gun use is?
I believe that Facebook has a responsibility over how its platform is being used. After all, the federal government has prisoned the owner of Dark Web’s Silk Road even though it was a marketplace.
Is Facebook any better if it doesn’t allow illegal products to be advertised but allows illegal or immoral advertising?