IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Study: Facebook ads could out gay men

Gawker's Adrian Chen wrote Researchers from Microsoft and Germany's Max Planck Institute

"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 and a unique identifier (cookie, IP address, or e-mail address if he signs up on the advertiser's site). Furthermore, such deceptive ads are not uncommon; indeed exactly half of the 66 ads shown exclusively to gay men (more than 50 times) during our experiment did not mention 'gay' anywhere in the ad text."

developed a software program deleting hate speech in memory of the recent suicides due to gay abuse GLAAD Gawker post, Christopher Soghoian's suggestions

"1. Do not allow advertisers to target advertisements based on sensitive categories, such as religion, sexuality, or political affiliation. "2. Disclose, directly below the ad, the fact that the ad was targeted based on a specific profile attribute, and state there which attribute that was. Users should also be told, after clicking on the ad, but before being directed to the site, that the advertiser may be able to learn this sensitive information about them, simply by visiting the site."

"Our advertising guidelines prohibit advertisers from using user data collected from running an ad on Facebook, including information derived from targeting criteria. For example, we explicitly prohibit them from associating that targeting detail with the data collected from the user in forms they fill out, applications they make, or other interactions on their site. We also require that targeting of ads based on a user attribute be directly relevant to the offer in the advertisement. We take the privacy of our users very seriously and take action when violations of these policies come to our attention."