Facebook encourages minors to abuse alcohol and gambling

10.10.2019     /     News author: Oksana

Facebook encourages minors to abuse alcohol and gambling
© Instagram / Facebook
The Facebook algorithm would have automatically labeled 740,000 young people under 18 from around the world as interested in the game and 940,000 more as interested in alcoholic beverages, according to research conducted by the Public Broadcasting Corporation of Denmark and The Guardian. This offers the advertisers of the social network an audience of more than 1,600,000 minors whose behavior within Facebook indicates that they are interested in these two topics, and allows them to send them specific advertising messages.

Anyway, the social network has made it clear in a statement that its rules do not allow "Facebook ads that promote the sale of alcohol or gambling to minors and we act against these types of activities when we find them." But Facebook, although it prohibits alcohol ads and bets on minors, if it allows advertisers to send any other type of advertising to those young people labeled as interested in these two issues.

For example, the developer of a video game that includes integrated purchases, thanks to the algorithm and market segmentation tools offered by the social network, could identify and show advertising to those minors whose behavior within Facebook has made them worthy of being noted as interested in the game.

On the other hand, an anti-gaming or alcohol consumption prevention service among the youngest would also have perfectly segmented the target audience to offer their services and offer help. And of course, those who try to skip the rules of Facebook about it, at the outset, already have a preselected audience at their disposal.

A video game developer with integrated purchases has a pre-selected audience of children who like bets at their disposal

The company reviews the advertising it shows to its users, in search of those that contravene its rules, in an automated way, but it is not always able to detect them before they have begun to spread.

Facebook's automatic interest segmentation has already been the subject of controversy in the past. In May 2018, it was discovered that the social network directed advertising to users who believed they were interested in issues such as homosexuality, Islam or liberalism, although these are issues that are explicitly marked as “sensitive information” by the data protection laws of the European Union.

Facebook reviews advertising automatically, but does not always detect those that violate its rules.

And a little more than a month ago another investigation also carried out by the Danish radio and the British newspaper revealed that 65,000 Russian citizens had been algorithmically labeled as "interested in betrayal", which could put them at risk. Later Facebook removed that tag.

Finally, in March of this year, the US Department of Housing accused Facebook of violating the Fair Housing Act, arguing that the site allowed advertisers to restrict housing ads in a way that discriminated “illegally on grounds of race, color, national origin, religion, family status, sex and disability. ” Facebook then said it would work with that department and civil rights groups to improve its ad targeting systems.

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