Press "Enter" to skip to content

Study warns of gender bias in Facebook advertising tools

For Paresh Dave

Apr 9 (Reuters) – Facebook users may not be aware of jobs for which they are qualified because the company’s tools can disproportionately target certain ads to a particular genre “beyond what can be legally justified. “University researchers said in a study published Friday.

According to the study, in one of three examples that yielded similar results, Facebook targeted an advertisement for an Instacart home delivery job to a largely female audience and a Domino’s Pizza delivery job advertisement to a male audience.

Instacart has primarily female drivers and Domino’s has a majority of male deliverers, according to a study by researchers from the University of Southern California.

In contrast, Microsoft Corp’s LinkedIn showed the job ad for delivery jobs at Domino’s to the same proportion of women as the Instacart ad.

“Facebook ad delivery may result in bias in job ad delivery by gender beyond what can be legally justified by potential differences in qualifications,” the study said. The finding reinforces the argument that Facebook’s algorithms may violate US anti-discrimination laws, he added.

Facebook spokesman Joe Osborne said the company gives “a lot of signals to try to serve ads to the people who are most interested in them, but we understand the concerns raised in the report.”

In the face of lawsuits and investigations by regulators on discrimination through ad targeting, Facebook has tightened controls to prevent customers from excluding some groups from viewing job, housing and other ads.

But researchers remain concerned about bias in artificial intelligence (AI) software when choosing which users see an ad. Facebook and LinkedIn said they study its artificial intelligence for what the tech industry calls “fairness.”

LinkedIn Vice President of Engineering Ashvin Kannan said the study results “align with our own internal review of our job posting ecosystem.”

(Reporting by Paresh Dave; Edited in Spanish by Ricardo Figueroa)

Read more

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *