Facebook Under Fire For Lying About Ads Targeting Teenagers

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According to recent reports, Facebook continues to collect ads data on children and teenagers. The company, meanwhile, has recently made changes to its advertising systems that change how advertisers can access young people.

Facebook, known as Meta now, previously stated that advertisers couldn’t target people under 18 based on their activities or interests. The changes came after the company criticized by child rights groups for using children and teenagers as ads targets.

But now Meta is on fire again for ‘misleading public’ about its advertising restrictions. As per the CNET report, 46 advocacy groups, including Reset Australia, Amnesty International USA, and FairPlay, sent a letter to CEO Mark Zuckerberg to express their concern.


“While Facebook says it will no longer allow advertisers to selectively target teenagers, it appears Facebook itself continues to target teens, only now with the power of AI,” the letter states.

Facebook is still collecting data from children and teenagers

Through creating some fake accounts, the advocacy groups could find that Facebook is still collecting data from people under 18. Reset Australia researchers Elena Yi-Ching Ho and Rys Farthing, with the help of journalist Matthias Eberl, created three fake accounts as 13-year-old and 16-year-olds.

The amount of data that Facebook, or Meta, collects is massive. According to advocacy groups, Facebook can collect data related to browser tabs children opened, pages visited, clicks, search terms, and even products purchased or added to the cart. Advocacy groups believe this AI-powered system is an “extremely powerful algorithm that is able to predict advertising that each user may interact with.”


In response, Meta spokesman Joe Osborne said they “don’t use data from our advertisers’ and partners’ websites and apps to personalize ads to people under 18.”

He added that “The reason this information shows up in our transparency tools is because teens visit sites or apps that use our business tools. We want to provide transparency into the data we receive, even if it’s not used for ads personalization.”

Advocacy groups have called on Facebook to end the process and stop its ‘surveillance marketing.’

Facebook has been repeatedly criticized for its effects on teens as well as its collection of information. The Wall Street Journal recently revealed in reports that Facebook knew how toxic it was to children and teens. Facebook has also recently stopped a project to develop a children’s version of Instagram due to widespread criticism and concerns from various groups. However, the head of Instagram still insists on implementing this project.