Facebook and Instagram collect data on people under the age of 18 with software that tracks users’ web browsing activity.
This claim was made in a new study.
The company, which owns social media platforms, announced in July 2021 that it would allow advertising companies to target younger users based solely on age, gender and location.
But researchers say that Facebook and Instagram are still using software called Conversion APIs, which collects details of young people’s web browsing activities.
Meta, the company that owns Facebook and Instagram, has denied that the data was used for the company’s algorithm-based advertising delivery system to deliver ads to users under the age of 18.
The study was conducted by experts from the environmental group Global Action Plan, Reset Australia and Fairplay.
In an open letter to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, the 44 advocacy groups called for an end to the company’s data-gathering practice as the details could be used for surveillance advertising.
The letter said that such a system does not lead to any improvement in children and, contrary to Facebook’s claim, data on younger users is still being collected to determine which child might be interested in an ad. Is.
During the study, 3 fictitious Facebook accounts were created, one of which showed 13 years and the other 16 years.
With the help of these accounts, researchers were able to view the data collected by the company’s software on Facebook, Instagram and Messenger.
Researchers have discovered that Facebook can collect data from other tabs and pages open in the browser and also collect various details such as which buttons were clicked, there is no reason why the company should not collect such data. Gathering is justified, except for the advertising system.
On the other hand, a spokesperson for Meta said that this is incorrect because we have shown the data in our transparency tools, we have shown the data to advertisers and partner websites and apps to people under the age of 18. Not used for advertising.
The spokesperson said that the reason why these details are visible in our transparency tools is that the younger users visit the sites or apps that use our business tools.