USA: Class action in California accuses Facebook of age & gender discrimination in financial service ads

Author: Johnathan Stempel, Reuters, Published on: 31 October 2019

"Facebook sued for age, gender bias in financial services ads" Oct 31 2019

Facebook Inc was sued on Thursday in a proposed class action accusing it of discriminating against older and female users by withholding advertising for financial services such as bank accounts, insurance, investments and loans.

According to the complaint filed in San Francisco federal court, Facebook persists in its willingness to let financial services advertisers “target” prospective customers by age and gender, despite a recent overhaul covering other kinds of ads.

It said the Menlo Park, California-based social media company’s conduct violates that state’s civil rights law, exposing Facebook to billions of dollars in potential damages to users nationwide.

“The internet is not a place where you can discriminate against people because of their age or gender, particularly in financial services opportunities,” Peter Romer-Friedman...

Facebook said it is reviewing the complaint. “Our policies have long prohibited discrimination and we’re proud of the strides we’re making in this area,” a spokeswoman said.

The complaint was filed seven months after Facebook agreed to overhaul its targeted ad system, including for Instagram and Messenger, to settle lawsuits by civil rights groups that it let employers, landlords and lenders discriminate by age, gender and zip code when placing job, housing and credit ads.

Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg said at the time that the changes would help protect Facebook users, and that “getting this right was deeply important to me and all of us at Facebook because inclusivity is a core value for our company.”

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Related companies: Facebook