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Facebook's algorithm accused of gender discrimination

Facebook’s algorithm accused of gender discrimination

The Global Working Group created Facebook Watch ads for four different occupations and occupational categories, and allowed the social media giant’s algorithms to decide who would be exposed to the ad. When they next went to who saw the ads, it turned out that the mechanic’s job was exposed to 96 percent of the men. A job as a babysitter was offered to 95 percent of the women, a pilot job to 75 percent of the men and a job as a psychologist to 77 percent of the women.

This means that it is entirely up to Facebook’s algorithm to determine who is seeing ads and is directly sexist, says Naomi Hirst of Global Witness for the BBC.

‘It has dire consequences’

The algorithm was created to get as many people as possible to click on the ad, but Naomi Hirst believes the algorithm reinforces already existing prejudices, writes the BBC.

Facebook has now reported it to Britain’s Equality and Human Rights Commission. “Facebook’s system can, in fact, lead to discrimination,” wrote attorney Shona Julie QC, who presented the report.

Global Witness’s lawyer, Ravi Naik, now believes Facebook could be breaching UK anti-discrimination laws.

It has serious consequences because Facebook’s entire business concept is advertising, and this business model leads to discrimination. Ravi Naik tells the BBC that it undermines Facebook’s ability to do business in this country.

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