Report: Young People and Insecure Children Targeted by Facebook
Facebook apologized for allegedly allowing its advertisers to target people who are emotionally vulnerable and as young as 14, revealed a document leaked and obtained by The Australian.
The news outlet, said the document that leaked was prepared by two top Facebook executive in Australia used algorithms that collect data through posts, reaction and pictures on the emotional state of more than 6.3 million high school students, young New Zealanders and Australians and tertiary students.
In simpler terms, data says the people felt insecure and worthless and are well-positioned because of that to receive the message of an advertiser.
A Facebook spokesperson said it had opened its own investigations, telling the news agency over the weeks it opened its investigation to understand the failure of the process and to improve oversight control. Disciplinary action will be taken along with other process were deemed appropriate, said the spokesperson.
In addition, another spokesperson for Facebook said that the insights of the document were never used for targeting ads.
The spokesperson added that Facebook did not offer any tools for targeting people based upon their individual emotional state.
The analysis that a researcher from Australia did, was intended to help all markets understand how individuals express themselves while on Facebook.
Facebook’s has a process it established of reviewing research it performs. The research did not follow along that process and the details are being reviewed to correct any oversight.
Nevertheless, it cannot be denied that data gathering algorithms like the one involved in the controversy not only are in existence, but keep with the principles of being produced for profit and being used always.
What is worse for the social media giants is the real-time monitoring of emotions of young people in this document seems to breach an advertising and marketing code in Australia.
As the news outlet pointed out, the Code makes a definition of a child as someone 14 years of age or younger and says children must receive the express consent of a parent or guardian before being able to engage in activities that would result in collecting or disclosing of any personal information.
That is any information that is able to identify the child or could make an identification of the child.