Leaked document reveals Facebook conducted research to target emotionally vulnerable and insecure youth A SECRET document shows in scary detail how Facebook can exploit the insecurities of teenagers using the platform. http://www.news.com.au/technology/o...h/news-story/d256f850be6b1c8a21aec6e32dae16fd FACEBOOK has come under fire over revelations it is targeting potentially vulnerable youths who “need a confidence boost” to facilitate predatory advertising practices. The allegation was revealed this morning by The Australian which obtained internal documents from the social media giant which reportedly show how Facebook can exploit the moods and insecurities of teenagers using the platform for the potential benefit of advertisers. The confidential document dated this year detailed how by monitoring posts, comments and interactions on the site, Facebook can figure out when people as young as 14 feel “defeated”, “overwhelmed”, “stressed”, “anxious”, “nervous”, “stupid”, “silly”, “useless”, and a “failure”. Such information gathered through a system dubbed sentiment analysis could be used by advertisers to target young Facebook users when they are potentially more vulnerable. While Google is the king of the online advertising world, Facebook is the other major player which dominates the industry worth about $80 billion last year. But Facebook is not one to rest on its laurels. The leaked document shows it has been honing the covert tools its uses to gain useful psychological insights on young Australian and New Zealanders in high school and tertiary education. The social media services we use can derive immense insight and personal information about us and our moods from the way we use them, and arguably none is more fastidious in that regard than Facebook which harvests immense data on its users. The secret document was put together by two Australian Facebook execs and includes information about when young people are likely to feel excited, reflective, as well as other emotions related to overcoming fears. “Monday-Thursday is about building confidence; the weekend is for broadcasting achievements,” the document said, according to the report. Facebook did not return attempts by news.com.au to comment on the issue but was quick to issue an apology and told The Australian that it will conduct an investigation into the matter, admitting it was inappropriate to target young children in such a way. “The data on which this research is based was aggregated and presented consistent with applicable privacy and legal protections, including the removal of any personally identifiable information,” Facebook said in a statement issued to the newspaper. However there is suggestion that the research could be in breach of Australian guidelines for advertising and marketing towards children.