Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 22 November 2019

Facebook sued over allegations of male bias in financial services ads

The lawsuit accuses the social media giant of discriminating against older and female users through targeted advertising

At a congressional hearing last month, Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg was grilled on the company's planned digital currency Libra, as well as its record on civil rights, hate speech, privacy and misinformation. Photo: Reuters
At a congressional hearing last month, Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg was grilled on the company's planned digital currency Libra, as well as its record on civil rights, hate speech, privacy and misinformation. Photo: Reuters

Facebook was sued over claims that tailored advertising for financial services on the social media network discriminates against its older and female users who might be interested in products such as mortgages, personal loans and insurance.

The lawsuit, filed Thursday in San Francisco federal court, alleges Facebook helped financial services companies target users based on age and gender, resulting in younger people and men getting a disproportionate number of services and opportunities.

Facebook has “aided and abetted numerous financial services companies” in denying its users “full and equal” advantages, according to the suit.

The social media giant said it’s reviewing the complaint.

“We’ve made significant changes to how housing, employment and credit opportunities are run on Facebook and continue to work on ways to prevent potential misuse,” the company said in a statement. “Our policies have long prohibited discrimination and we’re proud of the strides we’re making in this area.”

Separately, the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleges several Facebook advertisers broke the law by restricting job postings on the social network to people of certain ages or genders. The EEOC claim is part of a wider government probe, including with the Department of Justice and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, of so-called digital discrimination.

Facebook has been dealing with a litany of scandals over the past couple of years. At a congressional hearing last month, Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg was grilled on the company's planned digital currency Libra, but also on its track record on civil rights, hate speech, privacy and misinformation.

Updated: November 1, 2019 02:38 PM

SHARE

SHARE