Facebook’s advertising practices have often been questioned, by users and experts alike. A new report by The Australian is adding something to that. A 23-page document leaked from the social network’s Australian offices show that the company is exploiting users’ emotional states. The social network was reportedly aiming these efforts at children as young as 14-years-old.
Further, the document reportedly indicates that Facebook has algorithms that help advertisers pinpoint “moments when young people need a confidence boost”. The document even explains what emotional states Facebook can estimate. These include worthless, defeated, insecure, anxious, useless, silly, overwhelmed, stupid, a failure and stressed.
Facebook even uses image recognition algorithms on Instagram and the social network itself. This is used to tell advertisers how users “represent moments such as meal times”. The document has detailed explanations of how younger audience on Facebook express their emotions on the network.
It is worth noting that the data seen on the document is specific to Australia and New Zealand. When asked for comment by The Australian, a representative from the company apologies and said the company has “opened an investigation” in order to “understand the process failure and improve our oversight”. The spokesperson also said Facebook would take disciplinary measures as appropriate.