Amid all the other controversies surrounding Facebook – its censorship of conservative views, privacy violations and sale of user data – now there’s another.
The left-leaning ProPublica reported plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit that was filed in December now have expanded it to allege Facebook is excluding older job seekers from online employment ads.
“The Communications Workers of America and three older workers are suing on behalf of union members and others, who they claim missed employment opportunities because they never saw job postings after employers used Facebook-provided targeting tools and algorithms to direct ads to younger potential applicants,” the report explains.
The original complaint resulted in Facebook limiting advertisers’ “ability to exclude users in some demographic groups.”
But age restrictions still were allowed, the report said.
In an amended complaint filed Tuesday with the federal district court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco, Communications Workers of America and the law firm alleged Facebook “lets employers craft ads for ‘lookalike audiences’ that are demographically narrow or similar to people already working for the employers placing the ads, a move that the plaintiffs say marginalizes older workers,” the report said.
Further, the new complaint charges Facebook algorithms aggravate the age-related targeting. And now 15 companies are identified, including the University of Maryland Medical System.
“The promise of online job sites was that the kinds of discrimination we saw in traditional hiring wouldn’t happen. But what we’re seeing is that those practices are just as prevalent,” claimed Ifeoma Ajunwa, a Cornell University sociologist and lawyer, in the report.
“In fact, you could argue they’re worse because with online systems there is no wiggle room, no accidental meetings of employers and applicants,” Ajunwa said.
The report said the defendants are the companies, not Facebook itself.
But Facebook issued a statement when the concerns first arose that said, “Used responsibly, age-based targeting for employment purposes is an accepted industry practice and for good reason: it helps employers recruit and people of all ages find work.”
WND’s founder, Joseph Farah, has written extensively about Facebook’s biases.
He pointed out that, when asked specifically what company she would most like to run, Hillary Clinton said Facebook.
“Facebook – I just wanna add, it’s the biggest news platform in the world. Most people in our country get their news – true or not – from Facebook. Now Facebook is trying to take on some of the unexpected consequences of their business model, and I hope they get it right because it really is critical to our democracy that people get accurate information on which to make decisions,” she stated.
Wrote the WND chief executive: “Still the gatekeeper, Clinton recognized an opportunity to control the flow of information when she saw one. She would still like to have the power to determine which news is true and which is not. Don’t be surprised if she gets her wish, because Facebook – along with Google, YouTube, Twitter and Amazon – represent a new ‘Censorship Cartel’ seemingly determined to limit, restrict, define, regulate, inhibit, reduce and restrain the free flow of political speech despite its constitutional protection in the First Amendment.
“If Hillary Clinton ever got the job of truth gatekeeper at Facebook, it would only be a matter of making things official. Mark Zuckerberg, the founder, chairman and current chief executive officer, is doing a fine job constraining political speech on perhaps the world’s biggest and most important forum for the exchange of ideas. And when you combine the reach and power of Facebook with the like-minded corporate cultures of Google, Twitter and Amazon, you have an unofficial ‘Censorship Cartel’ that is threatening to render the First Amendment effectively null and void.”
“Without it, Brexit almost certainly would not have happened and Donald Trump would not be U.S. president,” he wrote, noting he “reminded Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg of this,” he said.
“It’s fair to say that this high priest of the liberal elite did not look best pleased at my dwelling on the key role his company has played in helping to create what he would regard as these totally unacceptable democratic outcomes,” Farage said.
He said Zuckerberg’s “personal political views, and no doubt those of his close colleagues in Silicon Valley, may help to explain why in January this year Facebook announced its algorithms were going to change.”
Farage noted the tech giant said it was going to “de-prioritise” news publishers and their posts in Facebook users’ news feeds.
“In other words, it was going to doctor the kind of news to which Facebook’s 1 billion users were exposed,” he said.
“And this is exactly what it has done.”