Facebook teen alcohol, drug, gambling ads approvals

May 2021
Updated: December 2021

Research studies in the US and Australia show Facebook has been approving adverts targetting teen kids interested in smoking, alcohol, gambling, and extreme weight loss.

Using a fake account, Reset Australia discovered advertisers could target teenagers on user interest areas such as gambling, smoking, alcohol and dating status.

Using a similar process, the Tech Transparency Project found Facebook approved ads for pills, eating disorders, and dating services for kids as young as 13 years old.

Facebook has since announced that it will no longer allow advertisers to target interest-based ads at teens.

Operator: Meta/Facebook
Developer: Meta/Facebook
Country: USA; Australia
Sector: Technology
Purpose: Review advertising
Technology: Advertising management system
Issue: Accuracy/reliability
Governance; Black box