A new document has outlined how Facebook can target “moments when young people need a confidence boost,” reports The Australian. According to the report, Facebook is said to be using advanced algorithm to identify and exploit Australians as young as 14 years of age with the aim of allowing them to be targeted by advertisers. The algorithm helps advertisers to target them [children as young as 14] when they are at the most vulnerable state. Quoting exact words used in the document, the report said targets are made when they feel “worthless” and “insecure.”
The 23-page internal Facebook document also outlined other methods of collating data to favour advertisers as including, monitoring posts, pictures, interactions and internal activity in real-time. With this, the social media behemoth is able to work out when such categories of people feel “stressed,” “defeated,” “overwhelmed,” “anxious,” “nervous,” “stupid,” “silly,” “useless,” and a “failure,” revealed the document.
When contacted by the Australian, Facebook did not deny such document, but issue an apology and said it had initiated an investigation. It also admitted in its response that it was wrong to target young children in such manner.
“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 statement sent to The Australian.
This revelation has now opened up a new chapter on how Facebook gathers its data on people. Over the years, tech bloggers and groups have alleged culpability in the ways the social media behemoth gathers its data. While such allegations and accusations have made the rounds in past years, no one had come up with a clear evidence to prove their points.
In a move that raises profound ethical questions about Facebook’s use of covert surveillance, the document lays out how the world’s biggest social network is gathering psychological insights on 6.4 million “high schoolers”, “tertiary students”, and “young Australians and New Zealanders … in the workforce” to sell targeted advertising.
The 23-page document gave a detailed how Facebook is gathering psychological insights on 6.4 million “high scholars”, “tertiary students”, and “young Australians and New Zealanders … in the workforce” to sell targeted advertising.
A further insight into what is contained in the document also showed that the social media giant made a presentation for one of the leading banks in Australia where it showed how $ 415 billion advertising-driven giant has built a database of users on the network made up of 1.9 million high scholars with an average age of 16, 1.5 million tertiary students averaging 21 years old, and 3 million young workers averaging 26 years old.
Prepared by David Fernandez and Andy Sinn, two top executives of Facebook in Australia, the document also includes information on when young people show “nervous excitement”, and emotions related to “conquering fears.” The document also gave detailed information based on “based on internal Facebook data,” “shareable under non-disclosure agreement only,” and “is not publicly available.”