Global Witness said Facebook users in UK may be excluded from viewing job ads based on protected characteristics like gender and age; further, may be in breach of UK laws.
Ads seen on Facebook completely depend on data it collects both on and off platform.
Using thousands of data points including characteristics such as age and gender it draws inferences about each user, profiling everyone and then charges advertisers.
It charges for the ability to target particular profiles and deliver ads to their feeds.
If you want ads to increase awareness of your brand Facebook’s optimization for ad delivery will aim to maximize total number of people who will remember seeing ads.
Blog provides example of specific job ad, how Facebook responded to request, etc.
Even though Facebook requires advertisers to confirm they will not discriminate when posting job ads, own ad delivery system appears to operate in discriminatory manner.
Facebook business model of profiting from profiling appears to replicate biases seen in world, potentially narrows user opportunities, prevents progress, equity in workplace.
Not first time questions raised on discriminatory impact of Facebook’s ad targeting.
UK Law Landscape
Faced with results from adverts, in light of evidence uncovered in other jurisdictions, it shared findings with Schona Jolly QC, a leading human rights and employment lawyer.
That authored a submission to UK Equality, Human Rights Commission on its behalf.
Her assessment states Facebook’s system may, does appear to, lead to discriminatory outcomes and further, thatfacts as found, collated by Global Witness…give rise to a strong suspicion that Facebook acted, continues to act, in breach Equality Act 2010.
Thus it asks EHRC to formally investigate Facebook’s compliance with UK equality laws.
Asks UK ICO to weigh in on compatibility of Facebook advertising products with GDPR.
If Facebook in breach of the UK’s anti-discrimination legislation, they may also fall foul of the UK GDPR’s requirement for data to be processed lawfully and fairly.
Recalled in Jun. 2021 Facebook launched defense of personalized targeted advertising.
Claiming that personalized ads level the playing field for small businesses by helping those ideas reach new customers; good ideas, said, deserve to be found.
In addition to the above, asks governments to require tech firms using algorithms with potential to discriminate against users to assess, mitigate those risks (till negligible).
Risk assessments to be public, overseen by independent body with powers to audit.
Governments to require tech companies to make criteria used to target online ads transparent, at the same level of detail that the advertisers themselves use.
Facebook to roll out changes made to housing, job, credit ads in US, Canada, world.
While these changes not sufficient to address any discrimination caused Facebook’s own algorithms, they are a start in addressing discrimination by advertisers.