Facebook Under Fire For Tracking ‘Insecure’ Teens’ Feelings

Confidential Report Shows Algorithms Were Used to Identify Vulnerable Kids for Advertisers.

May 2, 2017 11:31 am
(Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

Your Facebook status may not just be of interest to your friends anymore. According to a confidential report leaked to an Australian newspaper, the social media giant was using its algorithms to allow advertisers to target vulnerable teens based on their status and photos.

The secret internal report boasted that Facebook could document “moments when young people need a confidence boost” in times of great stress or anxiety from among a pool of 6.4 million young Australians and New Zealanders.

“We have opened an investigation to understand the process failure and improve our oversight. We will undertake disciplinary and other processes as appropriate,” a Facebook spokeswoman said in a response to The Australian.

It is not yet clear if Facebook ever used such tactics in other markets across the globe. According to the company’s own metrics, it has 1.86 billion monthly active users as of December 31, 2016.

The company has had a run of bad publicity of late, both because of the impact that ‘fake news’ posts may have had on the 2016 presidential election and because of a spate of suicides and murders that were broadcast to the public via Facebook Live.

Read the full report on the Australian newspaper.



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