Are targeted audiences ands online ads exposing age discrimination in America?

Are targeted audiences ands online ads exposing age discrimination in America? Are targeted audiences ands online ads exposing age discrimination in America?

January 9, 20182 min read
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As our online and real-life lives are merging in front of us – are older adults being intentionally left out when it comes to advertising and job recruitment?


A recent collaboration between The New York Times and ProPublica, the independent, non-profit investigative journalism organization found that several prominent and high-profile companies in America were recruiting on social media platforms like Facebook – but intentionally targeting audiences in younger demographics.


What this means is that older adults weren’t just being avoided, they never even had the opportunity to see the ad. With targeted advertising that isolates key age groups and audiences – only those selected to see the advertisement or job opportunity will.


There are laws prohibiting this. The federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) forbids bias towards anyone over the age of 40. However, Facebook has defended its practice saying, “used responsibly, age-based targeting for employment purposes is an accepted industry practice and for good reason: it helps employers recruit and people of all ages find work.”


The concept of online ageism is new and not an easy subject to dissect or understand. As digital media platforms which cater to targeted demographics and measured audiences evolve - how will employers, social media companies and lawmakers ensure that no laws are violated when it comes to online recruiting and advertising?


That’s where the experts from the International Federation on Ageing (IFA) can help. IFA Experts are available to speak on this issue - simply click on an icon to arrange an interview.


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  • Dr. Toni C. Antonucci
    Dr. Toni C. Antonucci Associate Vice President for Research

    Dr. Toni Antonucci is the associate vice president for research, social sciences and humanities at the University of Michigan.

  • Mr. Diego Rodriquez-Pinzon
    Mr. Diego Rodriquez-Pinzon Academy on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law

    Diego Rodríguez-Pinzón is Co-Director of the Academy on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law at American University Washington College of Law

  • Dr. Debra Whitman
    Dr. Debra Whitman Chief Public Policy Officer

    Dr. Debra Whitman is an authority on aging issues with extensive experience in policymaking, research and the political process.

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    Patrick Dixon is an author and business consultant, often described as a futurist.

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