It’s no secret we live in a social media-obsessed world. These days, it seems as if most people locate their daily news from their favourite choice among the Facebooks, Twitters and Instagrams of the world. Millions of people worldwide take to their social media accounts on a daily basis to not only receive information but to share news, photos and videos of their own. It’s hard to believe less than a couple of short decades ago, we were all without social media.
Not surprisingly, many recruiters have taken to social media to post their job ads. Facebook is an especially popular platform to spread the news about available positions in a company. However, there is one particularly glaring problem with using Facebook to post a job ad. The practice reeks of age discrimination. As you’re undoubtedly aware, Facebook and other social media platforms are incredibly popular amongst millennials.
Does a Facebook job post suggest that only young job seekers are welcome?
Audrey Agot of KRT Marketing notes that Facebook ads tend to utilize age-based targeting, and this raises concerns about discrimination. “Some might argue that showing a Facebook job advertisement for financial planners to users who are 25 to 36 years old discriminates against users who are 40 years of age and older,” she writes, “The federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 prohibits ‘bias against people 40 or older in hiring or employment.’ The question is if Facebook, in allowing age-based targeting, is in violation of this act.”
In a collaborative article between The New York Times and ProPublica, it was surmised that a Verizon job posting, found on Facebook, unfairly targeted job seekers of a particular age group. According to the article, written by Julia Angwin, Noam Scheiber and Ariana Tobin, the ad showed a smiling, millennial-aged woman and was set to run on the Facebook feeds of users aged between 25 and 36.
“It’s blatantly unlawful.”
The article notes that “for a vast majority of the hundreds of millions of people who check Facebook every day, the ad did not exist.” The feeling, of course, is that older individuals were being discriminated against since the job posting was targeted towards a specific age group. Washington employment lawyer, Debra Katz is quoted in the article as calling the job posting “blatantly unlawful”.
The trio of writers highlight the fact that Facebook’s ad delivery model has helped for the platform to dominate the industry of marketing. Its system, referred to as “microtargeting”, allows advertisers to reach whomever they wish. As a result, Facebook has come under fire for more than just age discrimination in job ads. It has also been criticized for accepting ads that seem to discriminate based on race, gender and disability among other factors.
Facebook has a new policy.
Agot reveals that in light of these allegations, Facebook has implemented new targeting restrictions that prohibit advertisers from alienating people based on their race, ethnicity, colour, national origin, language, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, family status, disability, medical or genetic condition. She also notes that “if you are using age-based targeting, you must include 40-65 years and older in your age range.”
For expert advice on how to use social media to post your job ads without any hints of age discrimination, give Hire Value Inc. a call.