ACLU Sues Facebook for Facilitating Gender-Biased Job Recruitment

A lawsuit filed this week by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) alleges that Facebook and certain advertisers have practiced gender discrimination by targeting only men with job ads on the platform.

On Tuesday, the ACLU filed suit with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against Facebook and 10 of its advertisers, arguing that the platform’s targeted advertising tools have violated federal civil rights laws by preventing women and older men from seeing job ads.

According to the suit, Facebook allowed advertisers to specifically show men various job ads on the platform, effectively blocking women, non-binary individuals, and others outside the targeted group from seeing the employment opportunities. The ACLU also argued that job ads targeted only to men were often for positions in “well-paid, blue-collar fields from which women have traditionally been excluded.”

In an announcement for the lawsuit, ACLU attorney Galen Sherwin wrote, “Facebook must change its platform to prevent advertisers from exploiting user data for discriminatory purposes, and ensure once and for all that all users, regardless of gender, race, age, or other protected status, are given a fair shake.”