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Facebook Putting Australian Children in Harm’s Way with Sneaky Gambling Ads

According to a report released by digital watchdog Reset Australia, Facebook is still not protecting Australian children from exposure to gambling ads and promotions.

The report reveals that the social media platform has harvested young consumers’ data and then allowed advertisers and marketers to push inappropriate content and promotions to the users. These ads included products related to gambling, alcohol, extreme weight loss, and even smoking.

An initial report was released back in April of this year and at the time Facebook stated that it would improve its technology to better protect children that use the platform. However, a newly updated report has found that the very same issues persist a full six months after Facebook was informed of them.

Reset Australia’s director of data policy Dr. Rys Farthing said:

“THE ONLY THING THAT’S CHANGED IS THAT ADVERTISERS THEMSELVES ARE NO LONGER ABLE TO SPECIFY THAT THEY WANT TO TARGET CHILDREN INTERESTED IN [WEIGHT LOSS], FOR EXAMPLE. BUT FACEBOOK’S AI WILL DO THAT FOR THEM INSTEAD. GIVEN THE POWER OF THEIR AI, THIS MAY ACTUALLY BE WORSE FOR CHILDREN.”

The report also uncovered the startling fact that conversion APIs such as SPK and Facebook Pixel are still active on many teenagers’ accounts. As a result those teens are still receiving targeted ads that include the promotion of online gambling.

The research carried out by Reset Australia is part of a federal government privacy review that aims to establish an industry code that will better protect the children and their personal data relating to their online behavior. As a result of this research, Reset Australia now feels that Facebook should not be a part of the process of establishing that code as the company has proven that it does not prioritize the best interests of children stating:

“FACEBOOK HAS BEEN CAUGHT RED-HANDED USING CHILDREN’S DATA TO TARGET THEM WITH ADS THAT THEY WILL BE VULNERABLE TO. THEY CAN’T BE TRUSTED TO DRAFT A CODE DESIGNED TO PROTECT CHILDREN AND THEIR DATA.”

A recent poll of 400 young people in Australia carried out by Reset Australia found that 82% of those polled were uncomfortable with the ads they received, and that 67% want an outright ban on these ‘stalker ads’.

sOURCE : gamblingindustrynews.com

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