Facebook advertising data: millions of gay people at risk

Facebook advertising data: millions of gay people at risk

Millions of gay people living in countries where prohibited homosexuality could be put at risk by Facebook advertising practices

Facebook advertising data under accusation. If you like a page on Facebook, now note the question of the data acquired and used to record your interests. And here a problem emerges. This commercial social network policy would put millions of gay people living in countries at risk where homosexuality is prohibited.This is why the company allows advertisers to target people based on their interests, including sexual interests.

Recent research of the Charles III University of Madrid he explains that the options given to social network sponsors allow for the profiling of very sensitive data, such as sexual orientation. And this exposes them to great dangers 4.2 million users residents in countries where the homosexual crime (also punishable by death).

Facebook advertising data, the search numbers

ngel Cuevas Rumnof the team of the University Charles III of Madrid, in Spain, and his colleagues, analyzed the list of options available for thetargeting of advertising on Facebook.They defined that about 2000 of these would be classified as information "sensitive”In virtue of the recent European law on GDPR data protection.These include a person's policy, race or sexuality.

About two-thirds of Facebook users in 197 countries have been tagged with at least one of these preferences, representing one fifth of the total population.

In Saudi Arabia, where homosexuality can be punished with death, the Spanish team found that in February 540,000 people were labeled in Facebook advertising data as interested in homosexuality. The team revisited that number in August and almost doubled to 940,000 people.

In the entirety of the research, the Cuevas team discovered that there were over 4.2 million of people marked as interested in homosexuality living in countries where homosexuality was illegal. These people could be targeted as a result of using Facebook advertising data.

To these concerns, Facebook responded like this, called by theNewScientist, who published the research first: "The interest-targeting options we allow in ads reflect people's interest in topics, not personal attributes. They could put a page on gay men, for example, without being gay. "

The company itself claims to have removed 5000 advertising targeting options precisely for risks related to discrimination. In any case, the issue of Facebook advertising data and sensitive data that may become discriminatory remains a hot topic.