Study: Facebook outing gay users to advertisers

Posted by Liam Britten

Here’s a scary thought for anyone who values their privacy.

A study by Microsoft and Germany’s Max Planck Institute shows that Facebook has been letting advertisers know the sexual orientation of users’ profiles — even if those users don’t have their orientation disclosed on their profiles.

Facebook does this so that ads may be targeted towards gay users. Props to The Globe and Mail’s The Hot Button blog for finding this:

And they weren't just gay bar ads. Some were things like nursing schools.

"The danger with such ads, unlike the gay bar ad where the target demographic is blatantly obvious, is that the user reading the ad text would have no idea that by clicking it he would reveal to the advertiser both his sexual-preference..." wrote the researchers.

I guess Facebook really does care about users’ privacy — unless the bottom line is affected. It seems like despite Facebook’s ongoing bluster about how you can control your privacy to any extent you like with their service, we keep finding out that it’s really Facebook who’s calling theshots.

Company:
Facebook
Website:
http://www.facebook.com
Location:
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Facebook's mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected. Millions of people use Facebook everyday to keep up with friends, upload an unlimited number of photos, share links and videos, and learn more about the people they meet. more


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Liam Britten

Liam Britten

Liam Britten is a writer and editor with a journalism background operating out of Vancouver. In addition to his work at Techvibes, he has been published in student publications across Canada, as well as local newspapers such as The MapleRidge-Pitt Meadows TIMES and The Langley Advance. An aficionado for the finer things in life — such as video games and sports — Liam is plugged into the tech... more



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