Noam Scheiber

New York Times News Service

Facebook faces sexism charges

Facebook has been criticized in recent years over revelations that its technology allowed landlords to discriminate on the basis of race, and employers to discriminate on the basis of age. Now a group of job seekers is alleging that Facebook helps employers exclude female candidates from recruiting campaigns.

The job seekers, in collaboration with the Communications Workers of America and the American Civil Liberties Union, filed charges with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on Tuesday against Facebook and nine employers.

The employers appear to have used Facebook’s targeting technology to exclude women from the users who received their advertisements, which highlighted openings for jobs like truck driver and window installer. The charges were filed on behalf of any women who searched for a job on Facebook during roughly the past year.

Joe Osborne, a Facebook spokesman, said: “There is no place for discrimination on Facebook; it’s strictly prohibited in our policies. We look forward to defending our practices once we have an opportunity to review the complaint.”

The lawyers involved in the case said they discovered the targeting by supervising a group of workers who performed job searches through their Facebook accounts and clicked on a variety of employment ads. For each ad, the job seekers opened a standard Facebook disclosure explaining why they received it.

— From wire reports