“Right now as we speak, Facebook is literally sending job ads that exclude people on the basis of their age,” he said. “It’s laudable that the AG has gotten Facebook to agree to some basic first steps, but this agreement really doesn’t do much more than what FB has agreed to do voluntarily.”
The agreement also enables Facebook to continue doing ad discrimination on the basis of gender.
Until this agreement was made, Facebook permitted discrimination based on race and sexual orientation. Even after this agreement, however, Facebook will continue to permit advertisers to narrowly target ads based on age and gender.
Numerous large and small corporations in the U.S. have used this feature to display their ads only to those aged 21-34 (as an example) or to target, say, nursing or elementary school teaching ads, only at women. By preventing workers from seeing the job ads, companies use this feature to legally discriminate against hiring workers in entire classes because workers never see the ads and therefore, never apply for the jobs.
Incredibly, the State of Washington’s Attorney General signed an agreement with Facebook that continues the status quo in Facebook age and gender discrimination.
While many may think, “Oh, this only affects ads shown on Facebook”, that is incorrect. Virtually all online ads are delivered by either the Facebook or Google ad networks. Essentially all online advertising including employment ads, is targeting age and gender.
Mark Zuckerberg has long believed in age discrimination and now owns the largest ad network in the world to further his “master age” thesis. Before he turned 30 years old, he famously told Stanford University students in 2007:
“Young people are just smarter. Why are most chess masters under 30? I don’t know. Young people just have simpler lives. We may not own a car. We may not have family. Simplicity in life allows you to focus on what’s important.”