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Facebook says its age-based recruitment ads aren't discriminatory

Facebook denies claims that its employment ads targeting specific age groups hurt older applicants.

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Facebook responded to questions about potentially discriminatory recruitment ads targeting specific age groups in a blog post published Wednesday. 

ProPublica, a nonprofit investigative team, expressed concerns in an article Wednesday that Amazon, Verizon and Facebook itself (among other companies) were using Facebook ads to shut out older applicants

Facebook disagreed with ProPublica's stance, noting that while it does target specific age groups in ads, it uses the practice responsibly. Here's an excerpt from Facebook's response:

US law forbids discrimination in employment based on age, race, gender and other legally protected characteristics. That said, simply showing certain job ads to different age groups on services like Facebook or Google may not in itself be discriminatory — just as it can be OK to run employment ads in magazines and on TV shows targeted at younger or older people. What matters is that marketing is broadly based and inclusive, not simply focused on a particular age group. In addition, certain employers want to attract retirees, or recruit for jobs with specific age restrictions like the military or airline pilots.

Read Facebook's complete response here

"We spoke with several experts who believe that this use of Facebook's ad targeting tools is in violation of civil rights laws," ProPublica editor-in-chief, Steve Engelberg, said in response. "We will continue to scrutinize the use of micro-targeting by Facebook and others, which we regard as raising important issues for our society."

Facebook did not immediately respond to our request for comment. 

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