If the rumours are true, then Facebook has to answer a lot of questions. Facebook has allegedly been letting advertisers target vulnerable teens. Which is solely based on their emotional state. My assumption is that advertisers are looking at posts, and targeting ones that are emotional. Perhaps the more emotional the better? From there, they are taking that information and posting ads on their Facebook page in order to sell their product. How horrible is that? I’m going to look at this from the perspective of when I get emotional. Which might be more often than you think. But I am typically extremely low. So I wonder what the advertisers are targeting specifically?
In my case, being emotional means I am vulnerable. If I see a sad commercial on TV, it’s going to make me cry. Which makes what Facebook is doing kind of appalling. Well, they’re denying that this happens. I wonder if it goes something like this: someone sets their status to “feeling fat today”, and then the advertisers, through artificial intelligence is able to know who’s pages that kind of information is coming from. And then they are able to advertise weight loss products on that page. As an example. There are many other emotions that one might have, but I think that’s a fair one. Especially for women, and maybe even more true for young women. Honestly, I feel like this is horrible. And I feel bad for the people being targeted.
Let’s continue to assume that this is true. It’s honestly all in the name of selling products for the advertisers. And likely to help Facebook bring in more advertisers. This whole concept makes me sick. Facebook should be protecting its users from this kind of guerrilla marketing. It makes me wonder what else they are doing? Who else they are targeting and why? If my guess is right about why they’re doing it, that’s deplorable. And far worse if they’re targeting teenagers. I think I would feel less angry if Facebook was targeting insecure adults. Why? Well, there is something about just being an adult that forces us to be on the look out for these kinds of things. But I am angry because they’re targeting teens.
I don’t have children myself, but I remember being a teenager. I might have been in a unique situation as I was “popular”, but I didn’t necessarily understand why or feel that way. I was an extremely insecure teen. And some might say, a bit insecure as an adult. But who isn’t in some ways? What bothers me is that it’s almost like they’re preying on these kids. Wanting to know what is upsetting them, and then trying to find a way to sell them products to help them? If the advertisers were healthy ways to deal with these insecurities, then I might be on board with it. But my guess is that it’s things like – beauty tips and weight loss products. Or things to make you look better. Which, some could argue also makes you feel better. But that’s not always the case.
Because this is all alleged, I will give Facebook the benefit of the doubt that maybe they will turn this around. But I can see companies doing things like this. And it makes me sad for the kids who are affected and getting hurt. They need better tools and ways of dealing with these kinds of emotions and feelings that they’re having. Not products to make them look a different way. If this is true, I say, shame on you Facebook.