Teenagers on Facebook Ads that support alcohol, drugs, gambling, smoking and eating disorders may be targeted, a Watchdog Group report said. The Tech Transparency Project created six experimental ads and submitted them FacebookSaid it wanted to reach users between the ages of 13 and 1. Facebook approved all ads for a few hours, including a promotional pill party in 43 minutes.
“It’s an easy solution and Facebook should have had the foresight to create it long ago,” said Katie Paul, director of the Tech Transparency project. “It simply came to our notice then. This is completely unacceptable. “
As you scroll around Facebook Extensive web, Its algorithms keep tabs on your behavior. Ultimately, it puts you in categories based on what you observe about yourself: your political inclinations, your favorite music, your interests and hobbies and much more. It draws advertisers who want to show ads that are appropriate for these groups.
But many Users unknown Facebook can simply determine everything from their online activity to their race to sexuality or relationship status. Moreover, several of these sections are unsuitable for minors. The report found that Facebook used teens’ behavior to keep them in the “alcohol”, “extreme weight loss” and “tobacco” categories, even mentioning whether the teen was unmarried and could be targeted by dating site ads. .
All Facebook users have been placed in the interest section. However, minors under the age of 18 should not be placed in the specific adult category. Got Facebook In hot water As for showing inappropriate advertisements to children at least since 2014 As recently as 2019, Investigated by Guardian It was found that the children were still labeled as interested in tobacco and alcohol.
Reporters have uncovered other problems with the company’s algorithmically created departments. In 2017, a report from Propolica found that the company Was allowing advertisers Target users who list their own occupations as “yuhu hunters”. The following year Facebook apologized for pointing it out Thousands of users Russia was “interested in betrayal.” Then, in 2019, Facebook Settled with civil rights groups Who complained that the company allowed advertisers to discriminate against certain groups when posting ads for jobs and housing.
Facebook There is maintenance To prevent underage users from showing these, however, the TTP director said the test ads were approved “a few hours later.”
“There’s no reason to tag nearly one million teens on Facebook as potentially interested in“ alcoholic beverages ”and other categories,” Paul said.
A Facebook spokesman said the company could not comment without seeing the report.
TTP has created six experimental ads, each with subjects under the age of 18 not to be seen designing around users. These include ads for “Anna Tips” (a well-known abbreviation for “Anna” anorexia), which TTP says it targets users that Facebook classifies as interested in “extreme weight loss” and “diet food”. A fake steam ad targeting underage users has been classified as interested in “electronic cigarettes” and “tobacco”. Advertisers are not allowed to target users under the age of 18 with dating site ads, but the TTP test ad was approved within two hours.
In addition to creating categories, Facebook shows advertisers its “estimated reach”, which users will see once they show any ad. Facebook estimates that 900,000 users will see the alcohol ad, and 5 million dating sites will see the ad. Without making an immediate correction to how social networks observe its own rules around advertising placement, the group warns, Facebook is “located to gain from harmful messages … aimed at a weaker age group.”
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