Man says Facebook targets kids in ad campaigns

Facebook is being hauled up in front of a judge by a bloke who thinks the social networking behemoth has been targetting minors through ad campaigns – and passing on their details.

Robin S Cohen, David A Cohen’s guardian, is throwing the lawsuit out there. He has filed the lawsuit in California and wants to take the social networking giant to trial for the “violation of civil code 344” under unfair competition law.

Cohen reckons Facebook has broken the civil code by targeting minors and encouraging them to communicate with their friends while at the same time marketing the names of children who “like” adverts.

The lawsuit hinges on a loophole in California law which says parents must give consent before a minor’s likeness or name is used for an advertisement. And Facebook doesn’t do that.

On Facebook, you can “like” any status update or post in your stream, but you can also “like” ads. Facebook then will turn the advert into a social endorsement displaying the names of all of your buddies who like the ad.

In the lawsuit, which was obtained by Techdirt, Facebook claims that ad companies aren’t targeting anyone in a network, instead users are encouraged to join and befriend people with like minded ideas. As anyone who has ever worked in advertising, known someone who worked in advertising or even seen an advert, that’s what advertising is all about. Befriending people.

It said no personal information on the user is stored, just that they “liked” a specific ad that cropped up.

It could be argued that it’s no different, really, to bunging on toy adverts on the after-school TV slot. They’re virally spreading some marketing bloke or blokette’s message to all their other mates, all little uns. Not that different to the playground except they’re actively endorsing all these brands with their names plonked next to them.