US President Donald Trump may not have publicly accepted the outcome of the election, but it has not stopped his administration from trying to secure his legacy before he leaves the White House in January. They have been drafting new rules and policy changes that support his agenda of the last four years, and make it more difficult for the incoming Biden administration to reverse.

The US Department of Justice has accused Facebook of discriminating against American workers by giving hiring preferences to immigrants. A lawsuit alleges the social media firm refused to recruit considers or hires qualified and available Americans for more than 2,600 positions. Those jobs instead went to foreigners on temporary visas, the lawsuit says.

Facebook disputed the allegations, but said it was co-operating with the department. It follows a nearly two-year investigation and targets hiring practices between Jan. 1, 2018, and Sept. 18, 2019. The process differs from Facebook’s general practices, according to the complaint.

The lawsuit concerns Facebook’s use of temporary H-1B visas, which are often used by tech companies to bring highly skilled foreign workers to the US. In its lawsuit, filed on Thursday, the department alleged that Facebook intentionally created a hiring system that favored H-1B visa holders and other temporary workers over Americans. The lawsuit seeks back pay on behalf of US workers denied employment at Facebook among other remedies.

A Facebook spokesperson said in a statement that “while we dispute the allegations in the complaint, we cannot comment further on pending litigation. Facebook has been cooperating with the DOJ in its review of this issue.”

The complaint alleges that when certain employees holding temporary immigration status at Facebook ask the company for permanent positions through the permanent labor certification process, the tech giant “creates a permanent position that is only open to that temporary visa holder.” For those positions, Facebook “implements a recruitment process intentionally designed to deter U.S. workers from applying,” including not advertising the post on its website, not accepting applications online and requiring candidates to mail in their applications, the complaint alleges.

Not surprisingly, Facebook often gets zero applications for these advertised positions. And even when U.S. workers do apply, Facebook will not consider them for the advertised positions. Instead, Facebook fills these positions exclusively with temporary visa holders. Simply put, Facebook reserves these positions for temporary visa holders.

Facebook typically uses a rigorous and competitive hiring process, including advertising the position on its website and receiving hundreds of applications, the complaint states. 

Throughout his tenure, the president has tried to make it more difficult for companies to hire foreign workers using the H1-B visa program. Silicon Valley is particularly dependent on these work permits but Mr. Trump has long argued they are used to the detriment of American workers. This particular lawsuit against Facebook is more of the same, a way to restrict foreign workers being hired by US companies. It’s a last ditch effort by a lame duck president.

The Trump administration has had a strained relationship with tech firms in recent years. Big companies such as Facebook have faced criticism for allowing disinformation to be spread on their platforms and data to be misused.

Complaints of anti-competitive practices have also been leveled at the largest tech companies in the US by Democratic and Republican lawmakers. In October, the Justice Department sued Google, accusing it of illegally maintaining its monopoly power in search and search advertising. Google denied the allegations, calling the litigation deeply flawed.

On the other hand, Joe Biden the President-Elect should tackle the splintering of the global internet as one of his top tech priorities when he becomes president, Facebook’s head of global affairs has told the Web Summit. There are two paradigms struggling for supremacy, he said with Turkey, Vietnam, Russia and Pakistan all attempting to emulate China’s censored version.

This fight for the future of the internet had been side-lined by three separate debates, he said. The US is focusing on whether big tech firms need to be broken up; Europe is obsessing over data sovereignty and privacy; and the Indian market is concerned about the security of platforms such as WhatsApp.

Mr. Biden needed to work hardly and put all of his focus on the urgency on finding the common and more likely the mutual shared ground between the three giants who are competing with each other to ensure the US had more say over shaping future of the internet rules rather than China who is single handedly controlling the cloud with minions on its side in names of Turkey, Vietnam, Pakistan and partnering with the Russia, said Mr. Clegg while addressing the online summit on the web.

A few weeks before that, the House Judiciary Committee recommended taking action to break up the big-tech platforms, including Facebook, Amazon, Apple and Google. Facebook has previously said it is not a monopoly and consumers can choose how to connect with friends online.

The flood of misinformation on Facebook is also made the part of law suit by the administration, despite the fact that the social network has just announced that it will act upon to remove the misinformation about vaccines and other social aspects being discussed and important to effect people, including the false claims that they i-e vaccines contain microchips or other ingredients which in reality the vaccines in reality do not as any of that, and the claims that they cause side effects that have been debunked by public health experts is also made part of the law suit.

This law suit is the latest and most lethal legal battle between the tech giant Facebook and Trump administration. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and a group of states are separately planning antitrust suits against Facebook, targeting the tech giant’s acquisition of smaller apps Instagram and WhatsApp. The FTC and state attorneys general are reportedly expected to announce plans for legal action soon against the Trump administration which is on the verge of ouster from the throne of Oval Office in Washington DC. 

By Saleem Wattoo

The author is Editor In Chief of THE DAILY BEAT website. He is an average person with average life having blockbuster ideas.

Leave a Reply

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