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Lawyers Are Looking for Ex-Twitter Employees, Via Facebook Ads

Twitter, everyone's favorite 140-character social media platform, has been struggling lately, struggling to keep up growth, struggling to make a profit, struggling to find a buyer. So, even as Twitter finally released some good news last week, reporting a strong Q3 performance, it was also reported that the company would be laying off about 9 percent of its workforce, with its sales team hit hardest.

Now, lawyers are reaching out to those ex-Twitter employees, looking to see if they had an actionable claim against their former employer. And in a cruel twist, they're doing so through targeted Facebook ads.

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Approximately 350 Twitter employees were given the boot last week, and when they went to share the news on Facebook, some of them noticed surprising, new "sponsored posts" in their social media stream. According to Recode, the Oakland-based employment and class action law firm Aiman-Smith & Marcy took out targeted Facebook ads directed at ex-Twitter employees.

A screenshot posted by Recode shows an ad from "California Class Action & Employment Lawyer," the name of Aiman-Smith & Marcy's Facebook page, which reads, "Have you recently been laid off from Twitter? Aiman-Smith & Marcy would like to speak with you." That ad apparently showed up in a laid-off worker's timeline within days of the layoffs.

Hyper-Targeted Facebook Advertising

Though Recode describes the post as "a weird form of digital ambulance-chasing," targeted lawyer advertising on Facebook isn't something new. Lawyers have been using Facebook to generate leads and raise their profile for about as long as Facebook has been around.

As organic reach on the social network has declined, more lawyers have turned to ads to increase their digital footprint. Facebook provides several ways to target ads to specific groups. You can create a "custom audience" of targeted individuals based on email or phone number information, for example. Or you can reach more broadly, directing advertising to Facebook users based on things like location, demographics, interests, and behaviors.

Using Facebook advertising tools, a firm could easily throw together an ad targeted at college-educated, Bay Area 20- to 30-somethings who work for Twitter or who have recently updated their job status and, voila, you've got a fair chance of reaching your targeted class (action).

This isn't the first time laid-off Twitter workers have been targeted, either. As Recode notes, when Twitter laid off employees last year, the property management startup Pillow reached out with targeted ads as well. Pillow, however, used Twitter.

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