The city of Greensboro has recently issued a statement saying they, “will not accept” accusations of discrimination by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The ACLU claims that the city is using Facebook job ads to filter out applicants based on gender.
Through a complaint filed earlier this month with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the ACLU named 10 employers that have been accusing of placing ads on Facebook that seem to violate discrimination laws on both federal and state levels.
Recent changes made by Facebook to its advertising system protects against discrimination targeting race, ethnicity and religion but did not cover potential discriminatory loopholes associated with gender. Facebook’s only response was that there is “no place for discrimination” on its widespread database and will handle the situation accordingly once the complaint is reviewed.
The accusing groups of the ACLU and the Communications Workers of America labor union stand strong in their belief that the job search ads posted by said employers are stacked against women and non-binary people, or those who don’t identify with the traditionally recognized genders of male or female.
Women living in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Illinois filed the complaint as they claim to not have been shown advertisements for jobs that are usually occupied by men, even though they have all the credentials to be considered a competitive applicant for the position.
Throughout several months of 2017 and 2018, those “hidden” advertisements included tire salesman, mechanic, roofing worker, security engineer and other male-dominated occupations.
The ACLU states that before this complaint, many of their non-male members have “routinely been denied the opportunity” to receive job opening notifications on Facebook in comparison to their male peers. The act of denying jobs based on gender has been illegal since 1964 under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.
In relation to Greensboro, one of the ads highlighted in the complaint is for positions in the Greensboro Police Department. The ad specifically targeted young men between the ages of 25 and 35 who lived in or recently resided near Philadelphia. Any targeting information can be seen when the user clicks on the “why am I seeing this” option in the drop-down menu of the ad.
“This organization uses multiple techniques to broaden opportunities for applying and encourages diversity within our workforce. We will not accept generalized accusations that represent anything less than that,” said the city of Greensboro’s when questioned about the ad. Facebook insist that advertisers must not promote or encourage discrimination.
In an earlier case with landlords and real estate brokers using Facebook ads to participate in housing discrimination, Facebook said that it “prohibits such discrimination and has been working to strengthen its system.”
The newly filed complaint suggests that the social media giant has “long known” that its platform was used to discriminate against gender. The fact that Facebook has had “plenty of opportunity to fix this,” only points to the thought that Facebook encourages such actions.