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Facebook Ads Use Age Discrimination

Updated on December 31, 2017

It is against the law in the USA to discriminate using a person's age when it comes to employment. While true in the USA, many countries allow ads to target certain age groups when listing employment ads. For example, in the Philippines, job listings many times use age as a pre-employment requirement. If you are not within the age group listed in the ad, no need to apply.

The New York Times recently investigated Facebook after allegations that FB allows their job posting ads to discriminate based upon age. Verizon had placed an ad on FB that showed a smiling, youthful, millennial, sitting at a computer. Verizon instructed FB to run the job ad for this IT position to target only the 25-36 yr. old age group who lived in the geographic area where the job was located.

The ad was run but millions of FB users never saw the ad. Many well qualified no doubt. For them, the job ad did not exist. However, those living in the area and that were within the target age group, did! The investigation found out that many firms are conducting subtle age discrimination online including Amazon, Goldman Sachs, Target and others.

FB is now crossing the thin red line of the law. Many older and well qualified persons could not even apply for the job (or others) simply because they were 40, 50, or more. They never see the job ads. FB claims it justs posts what their clients pay for them to do, that FB, is not using age discrimination. However, the law also prohibits an entity to aid or abet another to use age discrimination, which FB is obviously doing. FB claims that their job ads target specific age groups because that is where the best job applicants are and reject their ads are age discriminatory. FB states they are immune from liability because they are just a third party platform. Yet, FB allows their advertisers to select their target audience and then FB finds them the best applicants by allowing them to see the ad based on age.

An undercover agency bought ads with Google and LinkedIn for various jobs using age criteria- that is, applicants must be under 40. Both companies approved the ads without blinking, both violated age discrimination laws.

Employers claim they use age discrimination for online ads because it allows to target an audience that will most likely have the skills they seek. In most cases, they are those under 40. But allowing only those within an age range to see the ad online is simply against the law.

What else is new? Age discrimination happens daily in many subtle ways. This is just a new one.


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