Stay informed with the Big Story newsletter. Make a gift that shines a light on corruption. Dozens of Companies Are Using Facebook what Job Makes The Most Money A Year Exclude Older Workers From Job Ads Among the companies we found doing it: Amazon, Verizon, UPS and Facebook itself. Mark Edelstein, a social media marketing strategist who is also legally blind, says he never had serious trouble finding a job until he turned 50. This story was co-published with The New York Times.
A few weeks ago, Verizon placed an ad on Facebook to recruit applicants for a unit focused on financial planning and analysis. Some relevant numbers were not immediately evident. The promotion was set to run on the Facebook feeds of users 25 to 36 years old who lived in the nation’s capital, or had recently visited there, and had demonstrated an interest in finance. For a vast majority of the hundreds of millions of people who check Facebook every day, the ad did not exist. The ability of advertisers to deliver their message to the precise audience most likely to respond is the cornerstone of Facebook’s business model. But using the system to expose job opportunities only to certain age groups has raised concerns about fairness to older workers.
Several experts questioned whether the practice is in keeping with the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, which prohibits bias against people 40 or older in hiring or employment. Debra Katz, a Washington employment lawyer who represents victims of discrimination. Rob Goldman, a Facebook vice president. The revelations come at a time when the unregulated power of the tech companies is under increased scrutiny, and Congress is weighing whether to limit the immunity that it granted to tech companies in 1996 for third-party content on their platforms. Facebook has argued in court filings that the law, the Communications Decency Act, makes it immune from liability for discriminatory ads.
We found dozens of companies who bought Facebook ads aimed at recruiting workers within limited age ranges. Although Facebook is a relatively new entrant into the recruiting arena, it is rapidly gaining popularity with employers. Earlier this year, the social network launched a section of its site devoted to job ads. Facebook allows advertisers to select their audience, and then Facebook finds the chosen users with the extensive data it collects about its members. Many of the ads include a disclosure by Facebook about why the user is seeing the ad, which can be anything from their age to their affinity for folk music. The precision of Facebook’s ad delivery has helped it dominate an industry once in the hands of print and broadcast outlets.
The system, called microtargeting, allows advertisers to reach essentially whomever they prefer, including the people their analysis suggests are the most plausible hires or consumers, lowering the costs and vastly increasing efficiency. Targeted Facebook ads were an important tool in Russia’s efforts to influence the 2016 election. The social media giant has acknowledged that 126 million people saw Russia-linked content, some of which was aimed at particular demographic groups and regions. Other tech companies also offer employers opportunities to discriminate by age. Google said it does not prevent advertisers from displaying ads based on the user’s age. The practice has begun to attract legal challenges.
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On Wednesday, a class-action complaint alleging age discrimination was filed in federal court in San Francisco on behalf of the Communications Workers of America and its members — as well as all Facebook users 40 or older who may have been denied the chance to learn about job openings. United Parcel Service ran an ad aimed at people 18 to 24. State Farm pitched its hiring promotion to those 19 to 35. Some companies, including Target, State Farm and UPS, defended their targeting as a part of a broader recruitment strategy that reached candidates of all ages.
The group of companies making this case included Facebook itself, which ran career ads on its own platform, many aimed at people 25 to 60. Download the Extension You can download the Facebook Political Ad Collector from the Chrome Web Store or the Mozilla Add-ons Store. Nina Lindsey, a spokeswoman for Amazon, which targeted some ads for workers at its distribution centers between the ages of 18 and 50. Verizon did not respond to requests for comment.
Several companies argued that targeted recruiting on Facebook was comparable to advertising opportunities in publications like the AARP magazine or Teen Vogue, which are aimed at particular age groups. But this obscures an important distinction. Anyone can buy Teen Vogue and see an ad. Online, however, people outside the targeted age groups can be excluded in ways they will never learn about.
Golden bringing the age-discrimination case on behalf of the communication workers union. They Know I’m Dead’ Age discrimination on digital platforms is something that many workers suspect is happening to them, but that is often difficult to prove. Mark Edelstein, a fitfully employed social-media marketing strategist who is 58 and legally blind, doesn’t pretend to know what he doesn’t know, but he has his suspicions. Louis, says he never had serious trouble finding a job until he turned 50. I’ve gone into interviews, with my head of gray hair and my receding hairline, and they know I’m dead.
The company asked that the ad be shown to people aged 27 to 40 who live or were recently living in the United States. Edelstein said by email when told about the ad. Facebook ad was frankly a mistake on our part given our lack of experience using that platform for job postings and not a feature we will use again. It doesn’t surprise me a bit. Why would they want a 58-year-old white guy who’s disabled? Facebook is rapidly increasing in popularity for employers. Consider nurses, whom hospitals are desperate to hire.
Josh Rock, a recruiter at a large hospital system in Minnesota who has expertise in digital media. Nurses are predominantly female, there’s a larger volume of Facebook users. The Times, her team updated all their ads to ensure they didn’t exclude any age groups. But some companies contend that there are permissible reasons to filter audiences by age, as with an ad for entry-level analyst positions at Goldman Sachs that was distributed to people 18 to 64.
A Goldman Sachs spokesman, Andrew Williams, said showing it to people above that age range would have wasted money: roughly 25 percent of those who typically click on the firm’s untargeted ads are 65 or older, but people that age almost never apply for the analyst job. For some of our social-media ads, we look to get the content to the people most likely to be interested, but do not exclude anyone from our recruiting activity. Pauline Kim, a professor of employment law at Washington University in St. Still, Facebook didn’t promise to monitor those certifications for accuracy.