Financial service ad bias claim embroils Facebook in fresh courtroom controversy

Facebook has become embroiled in a fresh courtroom controversy in the wake of ongoing privacy and election interference scandals after being sued for wrongful discrimination by financial services ads.

A class-action lawsuit has been brought against the social media giant criticising it for age and gender bias in adverts for financial services such as bank accounts, insurance, investments and loans.

Critics accuse the platform of bias against older and female users by permitting advertisers to target their services toward customers of a specific age and gender, despite bowing to pressure to disallow such targeting in other forms of advertising such as recruitment and housing.

Speaking to Reuters Peter Romer-Friedman, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said: “The internet is not a place where you can discriminate against people because of their age or gender, particularly in financial services opportunities. It would be like General Motors refusing to offer women or older people the same features on a car as men or younger people.”

In response to the action, Facebook has pledged to review the complaint, adding; “Our policies have long prohibited discrimination and we’re proud of the strides we’re making in this area.”

Facebook currently allows financial services adverts to target ‘people aged 24 to 40’ and ‘men aged 20 and older’ among other brackets.

A succession of scandals have taken their toll on Facebook's brand image with the firm dropping out of the global top ten brands list.