Does Facebook Target Ads for When You Need A Boost of Confidence?

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 27: (L-R) Victoria's Secret models Leomie Anderson, Zuri Tibby and Lameka Fox depart for Paris for the 2016 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show on November 27, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Victoria's Secret)

How many times have you been scrolling the Internet online shopping, clicking on items you’re interested in and then log onto Facebook, and see ads for the items you were just looking at?

For a lot of us, this happens all the time. It feels like Big Brother is always watching. It’s no secret Facebook knows how to target ads to us based on what we like, but does the social network also use or emotional state as a marketing tool? Facebook Australia is being accused of engaging in this type of activity.

A 23-page document from two top Facebook Australia executives to their employees was obtained and published by ‘The Australian ‘where the executives talked about using data from young people to determine the “moments [they] needed a confidence boost.”

The company addressed these accusations on Sunday and did not deny this type of research.

Their statement said, “The premise of [The Australian] article is misleading. Facebook does not offer tools to target people based on their emotional state.”

Facebook Australia went on to say, “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.”

‘Business Insider Australia’ reports the confidential document analyzed 6.4 million high school and college students and young working people’s engagements on the social platform.

Facebook received tips about their emotional state with any likes, comments, and shares indicating they were feeling “stressed,” “defeated,” “overwhelmed,” “anxious,” “nervous,” “stupid,” “silly,” “useless,” and/or a “failure.”

It’s worth noting Facebook Australia may have violated Australia’s Code for Advertising & Marketing Communications to Children if they collected and monitored information from children 14 and younger.

It’s still not known if this information was only obtained from Facebook users in Australia and New Zealand or other countries as well.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/ Mike Coppola