A class action lawsuit has been filed on behalf of older workers who seek to sue a defendant class of all employers and employment agencies who use Facebooks’ ad placement tools to direct ads to younger workers to the exclusion of older workers. The Communication Workers Union and other plaintiffs allege that employers that do this are engaging in disparate treatment. The plaintiffs seek to represent a class of older workers that they say missed out on employment opportunities because companies used Facebook’s ad tools to target people of young ages. The complaint named as defendants Amazon.com Inc., Cox Media Group Inc., Cox Communications Inc., and T-Mobile. The complaint alleges that the defendant class will include hundreds of employers and employment agencies who used Facebook’s tools to filter out older job hunters when seeking to fill positions.
The debate over targeted online advertising has drawn the attention of the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, whose Republican and Democratic leaders jointly requested that Facebook hand over information, including how many jobs have been advertised on Facebook over the past five years using age-specific ads and what age criteria were used.