Facebook Financial-Services Ads Accused of Male Bias in Suit

(Bloomberg) -- Facebook Inc. was sued over claims that tailored advertising for financial services on the social media network discriminates against its older and female users who might be interested in products such as mortgages, personal loans and insurance.

The lawsuit, filed Thursday in San Francisco federal court, alleges Facebook helped financial services companies target users based on age and gender, resulting in younger people and men getting a disproportionate number of services and opportunities.

Facebook has “aided and abetted numerous financial services companies” in denying its users “full and equal” advantages, according to the suit.

The social media giant said it’s 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,” the company said in a statement. “Our policies have long prohibited discrimination and we’re proud of the strides we’re making in this area.”

Separately, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleges several Facebook advertisers broke the law by restricting job postings on the social network to people of certain ages or genders. The EEOC claim is part of a wider government probe, including with the Department of Justice and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, of so-called digital discrimination.

The case is Opiotennione v. Facebook, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California (San Francisco)

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