Facebook hit with lawsuit over ad discrimination

San Francisco, Nov 1 (IANS) Facebook has been hit with a class-action lawsuit here for allegedly discriminating against women and aged people, denying those financial services products.

According to a report in Fox43 on Thursday, the lawsuit alleges that “financial services ads on Facebook were targeted away from women and older people over the past three years. The complaint defines older people as those who are at least 40 years old”.

The lawsuit, filed by a 54-year-old woman Neutah Opiotennione, seeks class action status to include older and female Facebook users nationwide who were allegedly denied financial services ads.

A Facebook spokesperson said in a statement that it is reviewing the complaint.

“We’ve made significant changes to how housing, employment and credit opportunities are run on Facebook and continue to work on ways to prevent potential misuse. Our policies have long prohibited discrimination and we’re proud of the strides we’re making in this area,” read the statement.

In its bid to avoid discrimination in ads related to housing, jobs and credits, Facebook in March this year announced new changes where anyone who wants to run such ads will no longer be allowed to target by age, gender or zip code.

These changes were the result of settlement agreements with leading civil rights organisations and ongoing input from civil rights experts, said Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg.

The US National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA), the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Communication Workers of America (CWA) and other private parties, filed litigation against Facebook, saying it needs to build stronger protections against abuse.

Facebook paid nearly $5 million to settle several suits in March.

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