Facebook Denies Manipulating Emotionally Vulnerable Teens

By Earnest Wright, The Goldwater · 05-03-2017
Photo credit: Elena Elisseeva | Dreamstime.com

It's common knowledge that advertising has resulted in many techniques that will effectively reach the end goal that advertisers have in mind. As a result, advertising has long appealed to consumers' emotions. However, a new report has revealed that the social media giant Facebook has taken it a bit too far.

The social media giant is reviewing a recent research that unveiled a report that claimed that Facebook helped advertisers target teen users who may be feeling insecure, stressed, or anxious about life.

The leaked document, which was obtained by The Australian, points out that the social network's research can help advertisers hone in on moments when young people need a confidence boost.

A Facebook representative made a statement to NBC News saying that the leaked document is legitimate, but emphasized that the report was misleading.

In response, Facebook also made a statement saying that it does not offer tools to target people based on their emotional state. It also said that the analysis done by an Australian researcher was intended to help marketers understand how people express themselves on Facebook. It was never used to target ads and was based on data that was anonymous and aggregated.

As the social media giant disputes the characterization of the research in The Australian's report, the company's statement said the research did not follow the existing protocols that Facebook has in place when it comes to reviewing the research it performs. The statement emphasized that the company is reviewing the details to correct the oversight.

However, this is not the first time Facebook has been under fire for allegedly exploiting users' emotions. Back in 2014, the company published a study explaining how it showed 689,000 users positive and negative content. It went ahead and varied the content of its newsfeed to see if their emotions could be manipulated.

Source:

http://www.nbcnews.com/tech/social-media/facebook-denies-letting-advertisers-target-emotional-teens-n753831?cid=sm_npd_nn_tw_ma

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