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Photo: Ting Shen/Xinhua via Getty Images

The Justice Department is suing Facebook, alleging that the tech giant discriminated against American workers by intentionally reserving more than 2,600 jobs for immigrants on H-1B visas, the department announced Thursday.

Details: The department's two-year investigation found that Facebook gave jobs to visa holders whom the company sponsored for green cards, while failing to properly advertise the open positions or consider U.S.-born workers.

  • “The Department of Justice’s lawsuit alleges that Facebook engaged in intentional and widespread violations of the law, by setting aside positions for temporary visa holders instead of considering interested and qualified U.S. workers,”Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband said in a statement.
  • This suit is part of DOJ's "Protecting U.S. Workers Initiative," which launched in 2017.

Between the lines: Many tech companies rely on H-1B workers for key positions. Tech giants, like Facebook, have been some of the biggest advocates for the program, and key Silicon Valley players have joined lawsuits and accused President Trump of making it harder for them to attract the talent they need.

  • The Trump administration has cracked down on H-1B hiring through a variety of regulations and policies. For example, the Trump administration significantly raised the wage that employers are required to pay H-1B workers in October — a move recently blocked by a federal judge.
  • On the other hand, conservative immigration advocates and critics of the H-1B visa program have criticized the administration for doing too little to prevent known abuses of the program. It remains unclear how widespread the issue is.

What they're saying: “Facebook has been cooperating with the DOJ in its review of this issue and while we dispute the allegations in the complaint, we cannot comment further on pending litigation," a Facebook spokesperson told Axios in a statement.

Go deeper

Jan 28, 2021 - Technology

Facebook Oversight Board overturns 4 of its 5 first cases

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Facebook's independent Oversight Board published its first set of decisions Thursday, overturning four of the five cases it chose to review out of 20,000 cases submitted.

Why it matters: The decision to go against Facebook's conclusions in four out of five instances gives legitimacy to the board, which is funded via a $130 million grant from Facebook.

App rush: Talent over trash

Data: Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University. Chart: Michelle McGhee/Axios

Amid the sea of pollution on social media, another class of apps is soaring in popularity: The creators are paid, putting a premium on talent instead of just noise.

The big picture: Creator-economy platforms like Patreon, Substack and OnlyFans are built around content makers who are paid. It's a contrast to platforms like Facebook that are mostly powered by everyday users’ unpaid posts and interactions.

4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

First look: The LCV's $4M ad buy

A screenshot from a new League of Conservation Voters ad supporting Rep. Stephanie Murphy.

The League of Conservation Voters and Climate Power are aiming another $4 million worth of ads at centrist House Democrats, urging them to support the climate provisions in President Biden’s $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Progressive groups are trying to counter the onslaught of conservative money pouring into swing districts. Both sides are trying to define Biden’s Build Back Better Agenda and pressure lawmakers to support — or oppose — the legislation scheduled for a vote in the House this week.