Here’s How Facebook’s Targeted Job Ads Could Make Your Job Search Harder

A user gets ready to launch Facebook on an iPhone, in North Andover, Mass
A user gets ready to launch Facebook on an iPhone, in North Andover, Mass. on June 19, 2017. Elise Amendola/AP Photo

Facebook is really good at sorting out different cross-sections of its user base to receive highly targeted advertising.

That’s great for showing new moms ads for the latest trends in onesies. But there’s growing concern businesses could use targeted job advertisements to home in on specific age groups and exclude others.

The New York Times and ProPublica investigated targeted Facebook ads and discovered big-name employers like Target and Amazon have used the tactic to limit which age groups will see their recruitment ads.

“Several experts questioned whether the practice is in keeping with the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, which prohibits bias against people 40 or older in hiring or employment,” the article noted.

“Many jurisdictions make it unlawful to ‘aid’ or ‘abet’ age discrimination, a provision that could apply to companies like Facebook that distribute job ads.”

What does this mean for people scoping out job ads on their Facebook feed?

Fundamentally, it means job seekers may not see jobs they’re qualified for if they don’t meet certain age requirements.

On a broader scale, it could give employers a way to further discriminate on the basis of gender, ethnicity or sexual orientation.

Check out the article from The New York Times for a deep dive into the implications of this potentially discriminatory approach to job recruitment.

Lisa McGreevy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder.