A CITIZEN'S RIGHTS GROUP IS PUSHING Facebook on that experiment it did on children and how easy it is to advertise them.
Facebook denied any wrongdoing when it was accused of running a system whereby it was spotting easy to exploit teenagers with technology and pimping out those young emotions to advertisers. Scandalous stuff, and we dread to imagine what kind of stuff people would try to sell to sad teens. Hopefully it's not Sylvia Plath books.
It's cool though, and we really need to move away from this and forget about the whole thing if we are going to let Facebook get on with its important business.
"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."
Cool. Cheers Facebook. That should be that then. Except it is not! A group of plenty of civically minded organisations have written write to Facebook with a "Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey there…. What's this all about?".
They've done it in an open letter, so even if it does not make its way to Darth Zuckerberg then at least we will know that we have read it. They want access to all the information that Facebook might have gathered here in its totally innocent little endeavour. It's polite enough, so hopefully Zuckerberg will take some time out of learning to hi-five to read it.
"Dear Mr. Zuckerberg, As organizations that work to promote the healthy development of youth, and also ensure fair marketing practices and protect the privacy of individuals, we urge Facebook to publicly release the full internal document, reported in The Australian, describing how Facebook collected and analyzed Psychological information on high school students, college students, and young users," it says.
"We are concerned about how this information might be used by marketers and others to take advantage of young people, tapping into their emotions and unique developmental vulnerabilities for profit. There are also serious health and ethical implications of using such research findings to target youth."
It's not just about the kids, and one of the authors seemed to mourn for an earlier, younger and more innocent Facebook.
"What began as a way for college students to keep in touch has morphed into a platform for brand-saturated marketing and psychological manipulation," said Kristen Strader, campaign coordinator for Public Citizen's Commercial Alert campaign.
"It is incumbent upon Facebook as a cultural leader to protect, not exploit, the privacy of young people, especially when their vulnerable emotions are involved." µ
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