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Facebook Lets Advertisers Target Users Based on Sensitive Interests

Among the interests found in users' profiles were communism, social democrats, Hinduism and Christianity, it stated

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Just a few days ahead of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into effect, a Guardian investigation has found that Facebook lets advertisers to target users it thinks are interested in sensitive subjects such as homosexuality, Islam or liberalism.

Religion, sexuality and political beliefs are explicitly marked out as sensitive information under new data protection laws, said the report on Wednesday.

Facebook, according to the report, collects information about users based on their browsing habit and activities on the social network, and uses that information to predict on their interests and then categorise them based on inferred interests such as Islam or homosexuality.

Also Read: Facebook Reports Increased Posts of Graphic Violence in Q1 2018

Facebook is able to infer extremely personal information about users, which it allows advertisers to use for targeting purposes, found the Guardian investigation conducted in conjunction with the Danish Broadcasting Corporation.

Among the interests found in users’ profiles were communism, social democrats, Hinduism and Christianity, it stated.

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Facebook. Pixabay

The GDPR which comes into effect on May 25 labels such categories of information as sensitive and mandates special conditions around how they can be collected and processed.

While Facebook, as part of its GDPR-focused updates, asked every user to confirm whether or not “political, religious, and relationship information” they had entered on the site should continue to be stored or displayed, it gathered no such consent for information it had inferred about users.

Facebook, however, said that classifying a user’s interests was not the same as classifying their personal traits.

Also Read: Facebook Plans to Launch its Own Cryptocurrency

“Like other Internet companies, Facebook shows ads based on topics we think people might be interested in, but without using sensitive personal data,” Facebook was quoted as saying

“Our advertising complies with relevant EU law and, like other companies, we are preparing for the GDPR to ensure we are compliant when it comes into force,” it added. (IANS)

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We Disagree with Apple But Android Use Purely on Merit: Facebook

 Reactig to Cook's remarks, Zuckerberg had said his remarks about the social networking giant were "extremely glib"

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We disagree with Apple but Android use purely on merit: Facebook. Pixabay

Dismissing a media report that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg ordered his management team to use only Android phones after his tiff with Apple CEO Tim Cook, the social media network on Thursday said the decision to use Android is because it is the most popular operating system in the world.

The New York Times on Wednesday said that “after Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive, quipped in an interview that his company did not traffic in personal data, Mr. Zuckerberg ordered his management team to use only Android phones”.

In a statement on Thursday, Facebook said Zuckerberg’s disagreement with Cook is only over the business model.

“Tim Cook has consistently criticised our business model and Mark has been equally clear he disagrees. So there’s been no need to employ anyone else to do this for us,” Facebook said.

“And we’ve long encouraged our employees and executives to use Android because it is the most popular operating system in the world,” the social networking giant added.

In a Recode and MSNBC interview in March this year, Cook had called for increased regulation of social media, and questioned the practice of monetising user data on free platforms by selling ads that allow advertisers to target specific groups.

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Facebook, social media. Pixabay

The Apple CEO was asked how he would handle the crisis Facebook is facing.

“I wouldn’t be in this situation,” he said.

“The truth is, we could make a ton of money if we monetised our customer… If our customer was our product,… We’ve elected not to do that.”

Also Read- Instagram Rolls Out “Your Activity” Feature

 Reactig to Cook’s remarks, Zuckerberg had said his remarks about the social networking giant were “extremely glib”.

Zuckerberg said that Facebook remains free to use because it’s focused on connecting people and many people can’t afford to pay, therefore, “having an advertising-supported model is the only rational model that can support building this service to reach people”. (IANS)