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Facebook Settlement Targets Discrimination in Job Ads

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Kudos to lawyers at the ACLU, Outten & Golden and other civil rights advocates who hammered out a broad settlement with Facebook on Tuesday that resolved five lawsuits.

The groups alleged that Facebook’s advertising platform enabled discrimination in housing, employment and credit advertising. According to the plaintiffs, Facebook provided targeting options that let advertisers exclude certain groups. For example, some job ads excluded users based on their age or gender, and housing ads targeted people based on their race.

Represented by Munger, Tolles & Olson, Facebook agreed to make major changes to its ad platform to prevent housing, employment and credit advertisers from discriminating against protected groups. The company will also pay $5 million, mainly to cover legal fees.

Personally, I just wish the targeting restrictions applied to more categories of Facebook ads. Like, say, old lady shoes.  

Facebook keeps sending me ads for Allbirds (“The world’s most comfortable shoes”) and also for neoprene sneakers. The shoes are…sensible. And not even remotely cute.

Er, what are you suggesting, Facebook? That my strappy high heel-wearing days are over and I’m one step away from orthopedics and a walker?

I’m also getting ads for dental insurance. (“It doesn’t take long for a superficial cavity to reach the nerve. Don’t wait for a filling to become something worse.”)

First of all, I already have dental insurance. Second, I get my teeth cleaned every six months. Third, I have enough to worry about without your dental scare tactics bumming me out. The fact that I maybe possibly should do something about my receding gums is none of your business!

Then there’s the ad for “Shapermint”—“Forget hiding behind baggy clothes. Smooth, lift and shape from tummy to thighs.”

Shut up, Shapermint. And quit looking at my photos.

At least I have one (sort of) cool ad in my current Facebook feed, for BottleRock in Napa Valley. It’s a three day festival in May featuring musicians I listened to in high school like Neil Young and Santana; wines from 23 local vineyards; a gazillion kinds of craft beers, and fancy-pants food like duck confit tacos. Also, the seating includes couches.

Who am I kidding? Resistance is futile. Facebook, you know me too well.

See also Facebook Agrees to Change Ad Platform to Settle Discrimination Claims

Jenna Greene