While the employees of Google take to the streets because of sexual intimidation within the company and Whatsapp has indicated that the app will contain advertising, there is also a more fundamental movement going on. A lawsuit filed against Facebook in the US because of sexist job ads exposes the discriminatory nature of online marketing.
A recent article in The Guardian explains the consequences of this for the Facebook and Google business model. In September, a group of people searching for work in the US filed charges against Facebook and 10 other companies for discriminating against women by targeting certain job advertisements only at men. The employers, from sectors such as labouring and lorry driving, had used Facebook’s ad-targeting tools to direct the opportunities at those they thought most suitable – and this did not include women. Although the outcome of the case has not yet been decided, it could – along with similar cases – have a seismic impact on the future of digital advertising and, consequently, on the future of the net.