Report: Facebook Used AI to Target Insecure Teens

Monday May 1st 2017 by Developer.com Staff

A report in The Australian is generating major controversy for the social network.

The Australian is reporting that Facebook used artificial intelligence (AI) tools like image recognition and advanced algorithms to help advertisers target children as young as 14 at times when they were feeling emotionally vulnerable. The paper says it has seen a confidential internal memo which explains that Facebook can identify “moments when young people need a confidence boost” or when they feel “stressed,” “defeated,” “overwhelmed,” “anxious,” “nervous,” “stupid,” “silly,” “useless,” and a “failure.”

Not surprisingly, the existence of the document has generated controversy for Facebook. In a statement, it said, “We have opened an investigation to understand the process failure and improve our oversight. We will undertake disciplinary and other processes as appropriate.”

The revelations could also shine a brighter spotlight on the ethical implications of using AI tools.

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