Facebook allows advertisers to laser target ads to its billion-plus users to extract the best possible mileage out of their advertising dollars. It also does a lot behind the scenes to ensure that the ads users see are relevant and tailored to their interests. Perhaps the company has taken it a bit too far down under as a new report out of Australia suggests that Facebook has been targeting ads at teens struggling with low self-esteem.
The Australian reports that Facebook has been boasting its ability to target teen users with ads that are based on their feelings. This includes targeting ads when they’re feeling “worthless” or “stupid.”
It’s hard to defend targeting that might be considered as exploitative by many people, however, the social network did promote ego boosts in those moments as well such as “body confidence.”
Facebook has since apologized for the matter and now says that it’s looking into this “process failure.” It promises that disciplinary action will be taken. What the social network hasn’t confirmed is that whether or not this ad model has been used in markets outside Australia.
While this may be in a moral gray area, it’s not like Facebook broke any laws by targeting ads to such users, as they were only targeted at users aged 14 and above which is in line with the country’s regulations.
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