Facebook allowed companies to target children under the age of 13 with ads related to smoking, alcohol, and gambling, in exchange for these companies paying the site about $ 3, according to research conducted by Reset Australia and published by the British newspaper, The Guardian.
The organization specialized in criticizing digital systems has set up a Facebook page and an advertising account under the name “Ozzie News Network” to know the advertising options that the site will provide through its Ads Manager system.
Although Facebook will not allow ads for alcohol and other inappropriate material for people under 18, it does not prevent advertisers from targeting children who identify their “personal profile” as being interested in alcohol.
The site allowed ads to be displayed to about 740,000 Australian children between 13 and 17. When the organization “refined the advertisement according to interest,” it found that it could advertise to teenagers just as it is for those over the age of 18 years.
The organization explained that it could advertise to adolescents under 18 years interested in alcohol products, smoking and “vaping,” gambling, weight loss, fast food, and online dating.
The organization referred to advertising costs and said that the advertisement targeting about 52 thousand adolescents interested in alcohol will cost only 3 dollars and that targeting about 14 thousand adolescents interested in gambling will cost 11 dollars, and the advertisement targeting less than 1000 teenagers interested in cigarettes or electronic cigarettes will cost between $ 138, $ 210.
The organization called on the federal government in Australia to develop regulations related to the collection and use of data on young people, saying that there must be explicit consent from children and parents and full transparency about how to use it, with an emphasis on “collecting the necessary data” only.