Facebook Wants to Restrict Ads Children See After Revelations Australian Liquor Firms Can Reach Teenagers | Facebook
Facebook will have more control over the types of ads kids 13 and over are exposed to on Instagram and other platforms, as new research shows that Australian alcohol companies aren’t blocking their social media content from reaching younger users.
Facebook announced on Wednesday that Instagram will start hiring advertisers starting a few weeks ago, marketing based on their interests in teens under the age of 18. Only their age, gender, and location can be used to target ads to them.
The Reset Australia lobby group recently reported that it can run ads to teens between the ages of 13 and 17 based on the interests they have expressed, such as smoking, extreme weight loss, and gambling.
The changes apply to Facebook, Instagram and Messenger. In a blog post, Facebook said that while anyone could manually turn off targeted ads, the company decided to do it automatically for kids.
“We have heard from youth advocates that young people may not be well equipped to make these decisions. We agree with them and therefore take a more precautionary approach to how advertisers can reach young people with ads. “
The reforms were announced on the same day that a new paper was published in Public Health Research and Practice magazine finding that Australia’s largest alcohol companies failed to stop advertising alcohol to children on social media, including Instagram .
The paper examined the use of age restrictions on social media by 195 leading alcohol brands on Instagram and Facebook and found that a large number did not protect their content from children.
The 195 brands were owned by nine companies, and the research identified 153 Facebook accounts, including 84 in Australia, and 151 Instagram accounts, of which 77 were based in Australia.
The authors found that 28% of Instagram accounts and 5% of Facebook accounts had no age restrictions enabled.
“Compliance with the industry marketing code requirements for age restriction controls is inconsistent among the largest alcohol companies operating in Australia,” the newspaper noted. “The regulatory system administered by the industry does not prevent children from accessing alcoholic content on social networking sites.”
The industry’s self-regulatory system requires companies to enable age restrictions on social networking sites to prevent children from accessing alcohol-related content.
The code, known as the Alcoholic Beverage Advertising Code, is administered by the industry and is only required for signatories. All companies involved in the study had signed the code.
Study co-author Julia Stafford, also chair of the Cancer Council’s alcohol working group, said it was clear that companies were not complying with the code.
“The alcohol industry has shown that it cannot effectively control its own marketing,” said Stafford.
“Statutory government regulations, which include an effective surveillance system, are the necessary step to ensure that children are exposed to as little alcohol as possible.”
Reset Australia executive director Chris Cooper said the change Facebook made would not restrict the company’s collection of profile data about teenagers.
“Facebook doesn’t say it stops profiling children based on dubious interests, just that it doesn’t allow advertisers to target them based on them. There is no obligation that Facebook itself does not use this profiling for its own purposes, ”he said.
“This underscores the need for meaningful public oversight of how these platforms collect and use young people’s data. Big tech needs regulation so that it can function in such a way that it meets public standards. We shouldn’t let them keep making their own rules. “
Other changes announced by Facebook affect people under the age of 16 opening new accounts that are set up with a personal account by default. And those who have already joined and have a public account will be informed of the benefits of privatization.
Eight out of ten people under the age of 18 opt for a private account by default.
Instagram also flags “potentially suspicious accounts” used by adults who have been banned or reported by teenagers and prevents those accounts from seeing teenagers’ accounts in the accounts, roles, or accounts suggested for you.
If they search by username, they will not be able to follow teenagers ‘accounts, leave comments, or see others’ comments on those accounts.
These changes will initially be introduced in the USA, Australia, France, Great Britain and Japan, with other countries to follow.
In March it was reported that Facebook was investigating the development of a version of Instagram for children under the age of 13. The company couldn’t say this week if plans had progressed since then.