SOCIAL NETWORK AND PEOPLE'S INTERESTS VACUUM PIPE Facebook has been accused, via a leaked document from within its own walls, og selling out sad teens to advertisers who are looking for victims who are down in the dumps.
It sounds like shooting fish in a barrel, but Facebook reportedly put a lot of effort into it, and would perform sentiment analysis on posts including words like "defeated", "useless", "overwhelmed", "stressed", "anxious", "nervous", and "a failure".
The suggestion is that the social network is exploiting the information that it has on people so that predatorial advertisers can come and suck the remaining life blood out of them.
Facebook has denied the exploitation side of this, releasing a statement to the press that says that this kind of thing is business as normal and that people have blown something out of proportion.
"The premise of this article is misleading. We do not offer tools to target people based on their emotional state. The analysis done by an Australian researcher was intended to help marketers understand how people express themselves on Facebook," said a spokesman.
"It was never used to target ads and was based on data that was anonymous and aggregated."
Facebook comes in for a lot of criticism, and an outsider might think that it has enough on its hands dealing with fake news, propaganda spreading accounts and trolling and bullying to bother studying children's posts to see if advertisers might enjoy the loneliness within.
That is not to say that Mark Zuckerberg does not occasionally play Dr Phibes with subjects, and in 2012 everybody tutted at Facebook when 700,000 users were unsuspectingly playing a role in a study into the human mood and whether it can be plunged downwards via group manipulation and the careful selection of sad face posts.
That was all in the name of science. If rather inappropriate. µ
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