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Employers Use Facebook for Bias and Discrimination

Updated on November 21, 2013
One never knows who will be looking!
One never knows who will be looking!
FB makes discrimination too easy and subtle.
FB makes discrimination too easy and subtle.

For several years, some have been warning job seekers to make sure their Facebook pages are clean and respectful for good reason- prospective employers. You may have the skills and education but lack social skills that turnoff the prospective employers.

Now, a new study shows employers are using for illegal activities, that is, discrimination. The discrimination can be age, race, gender, appearance. In a recent study and experiment conducted by Carnegie Mellon, four fake FB profiles with religious beliefs, sexual oritentation and other. They also make for each person and sent them to 4000 job postings. Then, researchers used Google and other search engines to see how often the name was searched and counted how many interviews each profile received.

If the state was Democratic, the results were always between 11-12% of applicants being called for an interview, whether Christian, Muslim, Straight or Gay. If the state was Republican, discrimination was more obvious. Some 17% of Christians were called to interviews, while only 2% id they were Muslim. If straight, 15%, if gay, 14%.

The study also showed that between 10-35% of companies now search the Internet and social networks for an applicant during the hiring process. Employers polled generally do not care about sexual preference of the applicant. Employers also discriminated simply by the sound of the person's name. Many companies use the firm, EmployeeScreenIQ, to do this. Others have their HR department do this investigation.

But, any HR department or person can use social media to discriminate. For instance, a young startup IT company gets an impressive resume with no indication of the owner's age. They find him on FB and see he is much older than most of the others at the firm. They may interview him or not, but they use his age to discriminate and he is not invited to an interview, while a person with the same skills but much younger, does. The same can apply to race or gender. The employer may not want a white or colored person and using FB or other social sites find out the race, so they by pass them, even though they are qualified. Gender is no different. A Hooter's type restaurant wants hot looking, young women. A guy can't even apply. Women that do face race and age discrimination just by checking their name on social media sites. Naturally, none of this is made obvious because it is against the law, yet, there is now a even more subtle way for employers to discriminate.


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    • perrya profile image

      perrya 4 years ago

      It couldn't be more easy to find out about someone or to discriminate based on anything.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 4 years ago from California

      Someone I know uses their FB account only when hiring. Many a time a person represents themselves on a resume very differently than they do on FB.

      One women who proclaimed to be an experienced computer engineer on a resume bill herself on FB as a motivational speaker whose most recent computer experience was 10 years ago.