According to a report, Facebook approved adverts that target teenage children who are interested in gambling, smoking and extreme weight loss.
A lobby group called Reset Australia created a Facebook page under the name Ozzie News Network to explore the advertising options offered by Facebook.
They found that they were able to create targeted ads aimed at children and teenagers, based on profiling done by the tech giant for as little as $3.
Facebook forbids advertising alcohol and other inappropriate products to under-18s but the researchers were able to advertise a cocktail recipe to 52 000 teenage children that Facebook identified as being interested in alcohol. They also advertised a vape pen to 1 000 that were identified as being interested in smoking or vaping.
In total Facebook’s Ads Manager platform offered access to 740 000 teenagers from Australia and identified a further 14 000 of these as being interested in gambling, extreme weight loss, fast food and online dating.
Facebook said in a statement that it reviewed each ad before and after publication.
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