Activists say Facebook allows drug ads to target teenagers


Teens on Facebook According to reports from surveillance organizations, ads can be targeted by advertising alcohol, drugs, gambling, smoking, and eating disorders.The Technology Transparency Project created six test ads and submitted them to Facebook, It said it hopes to reach users between the ages of 13 and 17. Facebook approved all advertisements within a few hours, including a contraceptive promotion party held within 43 minutes.

Katie Paul, director of Tech Transparency Project, said: “This is easy to solve, and Facebook should have long been foresight.” “It doesn’t matter whether this is negligence or stealing money. This is totally unacceptable.”

When you are on Facebook and Wider network, Its algorithm will pay close attention to your behavior. In the end, it will classify you based on observations: your political leanings, your favorite music, your interests and hobbies, and so on. This is what attracts advertisers who want to show ads for these groups.

But a lot Users don’t know Facebook can infer everything from race to sex or relationship status from its online activities. In addition, some of these categories are not suitable for minors. The report found that Facebook uses the behavior of teenagers to classify them as “alcoholic beverages”, “extreme weight loss” and “tobacco” interest categories, and even notices whether teenagers are single or not, so they can target them through dating site advertisements.

All Facebook users are in interest categories. However, minors under the age of 18 should not be classified into certain categories of adults. Facebook has obtained In hot water Show inappropriate ads to children since at least 2014. Most recently in 2019,by protector It was found that the child was still marked as interested in tobacco and alcohol.

The reporter discovered other problems in the category created by the company’s algorithm. In 2017, the ProPublica report found that the company Allow advertisers Target users who list their profession as “Jewish hunters”. In the second year, Facebook apologized for expressing its apologies. Thousands of users Interested in “treason” in Russia. Then, in 2019, Facebook Reconciliation with civil rights organizations He claimed that the company allowed advertisers to discriminate against certain groups when posting job and housing advertisements.

Facebook With guardrail The person in charge of TTP said that these ads can prevent the display of these ads to minors, but the test ads were approved within “a few hours.”

Paul said: “There is absolutely no reason for Facebook to mark nearly 1 million teenagers as likely to be interested in “alcoholic beverages” and other categories.

A Facebook spokesperson said the company could not comment without seeing the report.

TTP has produced six test ads, each of which is designed around a theme that users under the age of 18 cannot see. Among them is an advertisement “ana tips” (“ana” is short for anorexia), which TTP said is aimed at users who are classified by Facebook as interested in “extreme weight loss” and “diet foods.” Fake vaping advertisements are aimed at underage users who are interested in “e-cigarettes” and “tobacco”. Advertisers are not allowed to use dating site ads to target users under the age of 18, but TTP’s test ads were approved within two hours.

In addition to creating categories, Facebook also displays its “estimated coverage” to advertisers, which is the number of users who might see any ads after placing them. Facebook estimates that as many as 900,000 users will see alcohol ads, and as many as 5 million users will see ads on dating sites. The organization warned that Facebook did not immediately correct how the social network monitors its own advertising placement rules, but “can profit from harmful information…targeting vulnerable groups.”


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