Facebook and Instagram’s ad serving systems continue to collect data from teenagers

In a new study, researchers showed that Facebook and Instagram’s ad serving systems are still collecting data from children in order to send them surveillance ads. Earlier this month, Instagram announced that it would introduce two new measures to protect children from dangerous content, according to whistleblower Frances Haugen before the US Congress.

In the July 27 announcement by Facebook of new rules for advertising to minors, issues relating to the privacy of children were addressed by youth activists. Because of this, we are more cautious about how advertising can target young people, according to Facebook, which claimed that they were “okay with them”.

According to activists from organizations like Global Action Plan, Reset Australia, and Fairplay (APIs), Facebook and Instagram are still using monitoring software known as conversion application programming interfaces (APIs). This data is collected and compiled by APIs that the study found to track children’s websites and behavior.

When children open other browser tabs and pages, Facebook can collect information, such as: B. which buttons they click, which phrases are searched for or things that they buy or put in their shopping cart (“conversions”). “There is no purpose in managing this type of conversion data other than to power the ad distribution system,” the paper concluded.

To examine the data from children collected by the two networks, the researchers used these APIs to create three fake accounts for minors. Regarding collecting personal information from children, 44 stakeholders have written to Mark Zuckerberg, CEO and founder of Meta, urging him to stop.

It is wrong to argue that our transparency tools expose data that is automatically used for advertising. We do not target children under the age of 18 using information collected from our advertisers ‘and partners’ websites and applications. Due to the frequent use of third-party applications and websites, we see this data in our transparency tools. A meta spokeswoman said in a statement that the company wants to be open with the data it collects, even if that data is not used for targeted advertising.

In the interests of minors, despite the company’s claims in July, Facebook shouldn’t replace “advertiser-driven targeting” with “optimization selected by a machine learning system”. The researchers found that Facebook is still using the vast amounts of data it collects on young people to decide which teenagers are most sensitive to the message of a particular ad.

In their findings, the researchers found that Facebook needs to be more open about the impact of its recent regulatory changes on advertising to teenagers and whether or not this is better for children. A study team observed that young people’s personal data is being mined in order to provide them with increasingly personalized advertising with all the dangers involved.

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