Facebook has denied targeting “emotionally vulnerable” young users in order to push advertisement, following a report by The Australian newspaper accusing the social media firm to monitor teenagers’ posts to understand their mental state using an algorithm.
A 23-page leaked document obtained by The Australian revealed that Facebook executives, through the use of algorithms, collected data on the emotional state of 6.4 million “high schoolers, tertiary students and young Australians and New Zealanders in the workforce,” to study their mental state through their posts related to self-image, weight loss and other issues,
Facebook in a statement to BBC technology confirmed the research was shared with advertiser, but said the article reported by The Australian was “misleading.”
Facebook said: “Facebook does 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.
“It was never used to target ads and was based on data that was anonymous and aggregated.
“Facebook has an established process to review the research we perform. This research did not follow that process, and we are reviewing the details to correct the oversight.”