Facebook may illegally target children with tobacco, alcohol and gambling ads

The Reset Australia association reveals in an investigation that it remains relatively simple to target children illegally with adult advertisements such as tobacco, alcohol and gambling. The problem is, Facebook collects data from both children and adults and therefore also collects their interests for anything that is normally illegal at their age.

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Is Facebook Really a Safe Environment for Kids? The Reset Australia association has looked into the collection of personal data and its implications for advertising targeting to children. The association wanted to know to what extent it is possible to target children with ads that should not be aimed at them, such as tobacco, alcohol, gambling, and diet.

To do this, Reset Australia has created a business page called “Ozzie news network” to see the advertising targeting options offered by the platform, and submit some questionable ads to test the moderation of the social network. The result is rather cold in the back. Officially Facebook does not allow targeting children with advertisements for tobacco and other products and services aimed at adults.

Targeting kids with adults-only ads is easy on Facebook

And yet … it is quite easy to show them such advertisements : it turns out that Facebook also collects their preferences if they already have a penchant for vice at their age! In other words Facebook does not differentiate between children and adults for data collection. A new argument to encourage your children not to use Facebook, especially when we know that the platform uses manipulation techniques to encourage them to open an account.

Facebook has given the Reset Australia page the ability to target 740,000 Australian children in the 13-17 age group. To their surprise, theThe tools on the page let them target this age group with content related to alcohol consumption, tobacco and vaping, betting, rapid weight loss, fast food and online dating. And the worst part is, it’s pretty cheap: To target 52,000 tweens with alcohol ads, count as little as $ 3.03. A silver bet ad served to 14,000 children costs only $ 11.24.

Ultimately the most expensive is to advertise tobacco and vaping (respectively $ 138.50 and $ 210.97 to target less than a thousand children). The Reset Australia test does not stop there, sincethey submitted advertisements on these themes, mentioning the target’s age group. All have been validated.

Facebook rejects responsibility for displaying questionable ads on child profiles on advertisers

“Facebook seems to use children’s data the same way it does adults”, notes with bitterness Reset Australia “It gives insight into how much Facebook benefits from children’s data and exactly what protections they have in place against this type of targeting”. For its part, Facebook explains that advertisements are sometimes actually verified after they are posted.

“Keeping the youngest safe on Facebook and Instagram is vital”, explains a spokesperson for the social network “We have measures in place to verify all advertisements before and after publication, which includes automated systems and human moderators. Anyone advertising on our platforms must comply with local laws and codes, including those which restrict alcohol advertising to minors in Australia ”.

Also read: iPhone – how to prevent Facebook from tracking you with iOS 14.5?

“To support this effort we also have age restriction tools that all companies can implement in their accounts on their own to control who can see their content”, concludes Facebook. What do you think of collecting these kinds of preferences from minors? Share your opinion in the comments!

Source: The Guardian

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