Facebook may be sharing our “emotional states” to advertisers, and here’s why that’s not okay
Whenever we log onto Facebook, it always seems like the ads are specially designed ~just~ for us. This is because a lot of companies tailor ads directly to you, based on the things you like. While targeted ads are nothing new, a leaked document about Facebook moods and marketing just revealed something very disappointing.
According to the memo, Facebook either shared data or discussed plans to share data regarding the emotional states of teens using the site so that marketing campaigns could narrow in on their target audience — specifically, vulnerable teens who might be feeling distressed or unworthy. This is seriously uncool.
According to Consumerist, “The document apparently outlines an array of teenagers’ emotional states that the company claims it can target based on how kids are using the service, including, 'anxious,' 'defeated,' 'insecure,' 'overwhelmed,' 'stressed,' and 'worthless,' among other negative emotions.
This is dangerous for so many reasons. For starters, it’s preying on a demographic that is incredibly vulnerable and easily influenced. Teens are more likely to be taken in by extreme diets and other “quick and easy problem solvers” simply because of their age and experience level (not to mention the extreme pressure to fit in).
It’s also a massive betrayal of trust to the millions of people using Facebook to share their feelings. While we’ve probably all rolled our eyes at some time or another at a chronic over-sharer, the site is a legitimate place for people to vent and reach out for emotional support. Capitalizing on that is not okay.
Facebook has apologized for the memo leak and claims that the company never used the data collected — and doesn’t plan to start.
Needless to say, we hope Facebook stays true to their word and that the extreme public backlash to this news reminds them that they never should have considered the endeavor in the first place.