The Facebook platform has classified hundreds of thousands of Children ‘interested in’ gambling and alcohol, according to a joint investigation by the British Guardian newspaper and the Danish Broadcasting Corporation.

Social media advertising tools reveal that 740,000 children under the age of 18 were classified as interested in gambling, while about 940,000 were classified ‘interested in’ alcohol.

These interests are automatically generated by Facebook, based on what you learned about the user by monitoring their social activity, and advertisers can then use them to target targeted messages to subgroups identified as interested in the topic.

The company allows advertisers to send targeted messages to children based on their interest in alcohol or gambling, and someone from within the company has provided an example through an anti-gambling service that wants to reach out to children who may have a gambling problem and offer help and support.

Advertisers can also target interests for other purposes, as exploitative video game developers with a lucrative gift box can target their ads to children interested in gambling without violating any Facebook laws.

Facebook relies primarily on automatic ad review to identify ads that violate its policies, but automated review isn’t always able to find violations before ads start running.

Facebook’s desire to provide as much information as possible to advertisers in order to target consumers has led to frequent problems with advertisers’ ability to misuse targeting data in ways that are often illegal and cross-border.

Facebook said in a statement : “We do not allow advertisements to sell alcohol or gambling to minors on the platform and we stop this activity when we find it, and we are working closely with regulators to provide guidance to advertisers to help them reach their audiences effectively and responsibly.”

Source : Theguardian

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