by Sharon Florentine

Companies use Facebook’s advertising algorithms to discriminate

Dec 28, 2017
CareersFacebookIT Jobs

A new report by ProPublica reveals that Facebook’s job recruitment ads are discriminating against job seekers based on their age.

facebook primary
Credit: Facebook

It is against the law to discriminate against workers older than 40 when you’re hiring and recruiting. But a recent investigation by ProPublica and The New York Times – which spun off from those organizations’ investigations into the role social media and advertising algorithms played in spreading false, Russian propaganda during the 2016 election – shows that Facebook, Verizon, Amazon, UPS and others are using Facebook’s advertising algorithms to do just that.

If you’re over 40 and looking for a technology job, the algorithms would prevent you from even seeing recruiting ads – even if you’re incredibly qualified for the role. And in my opinion, that’s age discrimination.

Diversity isn’t just about race, class, ability, sex and gender – it’s about age, too. Excluding older workers isn’t just wrong; it’s counterproductive. You’re losing out on institutional knowledge, skills honed over years of practice, as well as the opportunity to have older tech talent serve as mentors to the younger generations.

While ageism doesn’t get as much attention as racism or sexism or homophobia in Silicon Valley, it’s just as big a problem, with older workers resorting to drastic measures such as plastic surgery to appear younger so they can land a job. And now, social media’s making it worse.