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Challenging discriminatory algorithms through legal means

The Meta Case

Is Facebook potentially violating Dutch equality laws? In this event, leading up to a hearing of the case before the Netherlands Institute for Human Rights against digital giant Meta, we delve into the origins of this Meta Case and engage in a broader conversation about how technological developments can reflect, identify, and address societal issues such as sexism, racism, and other types of discrimination.

In 2023, the UK-based human rights organization Global Witness partnered with Bureau Clara Wichmann, a Dutch women’s rights organization, in filing a complaint against Meta at the Institute after investigating Facebook’s algorithms. In 2022, Global Witness placed gender-neutral advertisements for multiple job vacancies such as electrician, hairdresser, elementary school teacher, and mechanic on Facebook. The findings strongly showed that Facebook’s advertising algorithm makes distinctions based on gender when displaying job vacancies to Facebook users, particularly for professions historically associated with either men or women. For example, job vacancies for electrician and mechanic were predominantly shown to men, while vacancies for receptionist, elementary school teacher and hairdresser appeared almost exclusively on women’s timelines.

Speakers will be announced shortly.

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