How Facebook Exploits Underage Girls In Its Quest For Ad Revenue

Tyler Durden's picture


Submitted by Mike Krieger of Liberty Blitzkrieg

How Facebook Exploits Underage Girls in its Quest for Ad Revenue

Sophie Bean, 14, of Sequim, Wash., said she was thought she was “liking” a Facebook ad related to fashion modeling. Instead, it promoted a Facebook page that recruited adult webcam models.

“I just thought it was for modeling, and I’m interested in that, and I thought it would help me out,” Sophie said.

Sophie wasn’t the only teen connecting with the page, which Facebook statistics show is most popular with users 13 to 17. Clicking on it didn’t pull the teens into nude webcam modeling, but did mean they would receive the page’s updates and could be mentioned in future versions of the ad.

- From the Wall Street Journal’s recent article: Nude Webcams and Diet Drugs: the Facebook Ads Teens Aren’t Supposed to See

This post is my third in recent weeks exploring what exactly is going on with the Facebook business model. The company reported stellar results in its latest earnings report, which has led to many questions as to exactly how they are making all this advertising money. Well the pieces are finally starting to come together, and the answer is not pretty.

For some context, I suggest you first read the previous articles I posted:

How Much of Facebook’s Ad Revenue is From Click Fraud?

This Man’s $600,000 Facebook Disaster is a Warning For All Small Businesses

With all that in mind, let’s move on to the third piece of the puzzle. The routine exploitation of the weakness and most gullible members of society, teenage girls.

The crazy thing here is not that some random selection of underage girls are being led to click on ads that direct them to adult video cam sites and dangerous dietary supplements, but that they represent the primary demographic clicking on these ads.

This story from the Wall Street Journal is sure to make your blood boil no matter who you are, but particularly if you are a parent with young children.

From the WSJ:

“Who do you like?” asked recent ads on Facebook, featuring young women in alluring poses.

Some of the ads were configured to reach young teens, who were invited to join an app called Ilikeq that let others rate their attractiveness, comment on their photos and say if they would like to date them.

That’s how 14-year-old Erica Lowder’s picture ended up on display to adult men online. Users of Ilikeq, one of Facebook’s fastest-growing “lifestyle” apps, were able to click through to the Indianapolis girl’s Facebook page. 

The case offers a glimpse into how young Facebook users are sometimes exposed to ads inappropriate for them. A 14-year-old girl in Washington state said she “liked” an ad that led to the Facebook page of a nude webcam-modeling site.
Facebook said it approved the ads for young teens because it hadn’t categorized Ilikeq as a dating site. It said it has now done so and has disabled Ilikeq ads for those below its minimum age for dating-site ads, 18. 

Advertisers on Facebook can set their ads to reach all users or narrow the focus. Facebook’s website says it can help advertisers target consumers based on an array of user information it collects, such as age, gender, relationship status, politics and type of phone owned.

“We take the quality of ads on Facebook very seriously,” Facebook said in a statement. 

Really? You could’ve fooled me.

Facebook used to limit ads to users 18 and older by default. An advertiser who wanted to reach younger people had to change the setting.

In 2011, it eliminated this restriction for some advertisers, so their ads could be shown to all unless specified. That change was extended to all advertisers in 2012, around the time of Facebook’s initial public offering.

Just a coincidence I’m sure…

The change meant roughly 10 million U.S. Facebook users aged from 13 to 17 were exposed to a wider range of marketing. Facebook said it made the change because most advertisers wanted to reach users of all ages, and most ads are appropriate for all.

Sophie Bean, 14, of Sequim, Wash., said she was thought she was “liking” a Facebook ad related to fashion modeling. Instead, it promoted a Facebook page that recruited adult webcam models.

“I just thought it was for modeling, and I’m interested in that, and I thought it would help me out,” Sophie said.

Sophie wasn’t the only teen connecting with the page, which Facebook statistics show is most popular with users 13 to 17. Clicking on it didn’t pull the teens into nude webcam modeling, but did mean they would receive the page’s updates and could be mentioned in future versions of the ad.

Sophie’s father, Robert Bean, said he found the matter “pretty disgusting.” He said that if Facebook is aware of such ads, “they need to be exposed for dealing with companies like this.”

Ads for diet products containing a substance called HCG have run on Facebook. HCG, a hormone produced during pregnancy, is approved by the Food and Drug Administration as a prescription drug for infertility. But the agency, in a 2011 news release headed “HCG Diet Products Are Illegal,” said HCG doesn’t help with weight loss and isn’t approved for over-the-counter sale for any purpose.

A Florida outfit that has run Facebook ads in the past uses an “HCG Diet Kits” Facebook page as an online storefront to sell HCG serum and syringes. The page is most popular with Facebook users aged 13 to 24, according to Facebook’s statistics. On Feb. 20, the page posted “Back in stock!” and listed prices for its diet-shots kits to its Facebook following.


Full article here.

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Fri, 02/28/2014 - 22:43 | 4492450 Normalcy Bias
Normalcy Bias's picture

Wha?! Facebook is sleazy, and will do anything for a buck? You don't say!

Fri, 02/28/2014 - 22:50 | 4492467 RevRex
RevRex's picture

And you are surprised the National Socialist Semite Media is slimy?

Fri, 02/28/2014 - 23:05 | 4492499 Dear Infinity
Dear Infinity's picture

Mark Zuckerman knows what you're typing.... even when you delete it

Fri, 02/28/2014 - 23:20 | 4492521 NoDebt
NoDebt's picture

Zuckerberg.  And yes, he does.  You'd have to be insane to let your kids on it.  If you're an adult, seriously, what do you really need it for?

Fri, 02/28/2014 - 23:41 | 4492550 medium giraffe
medium giraffe's picture

But without using Facebook how would we express our glorious and singular uniqueness like everyone else does?

Sat, 03/01/2014 - 00:46 | 4492632 Bob
Bob's picture

It reminds me of young children. 

I remember when my 2-3 year old's would scribble some shit off with crayons or markers on a sheet of paper--any paper, they really didn't care, but I made sure it was good paper--and proudly presented it to me.  I was obligated to coo "Good Job!" or ""Beautiful" or "I love it!" . . . whatever it would take to make them feel pride in their "work." 

On FB it's a [click] Like

Problem is that people into FB genuinely believe that their "work" is inspiring nothing but Love.  The real thing.  Public "Likes" that the whole wide world can see!

Even my family and "friends" should know better than that.



Sat, 03/01/2014 - 06:10 | 4492874 PR Guy
PR Guy's picture



Even Death has an opinion about Facebook!


Sat, 03/01/2014 - 09:46 | 4493023 knukles
knukles's picture

Somebody needs his balls cut off.
Hint:  He is a major DC donator to the current PTB.
Hint:  Before his company was taken public, a major motion picture if Him as a Genius, portrayed in an incredibly favorable light, was made "promoting" Him and His Product
Hint:  His product is one of the MAJOR vehicles for Nasty PTB to control you
Hint:  He knows full well this shit is going on
Hint:  He doesn't give a flying fuck about anybody but hios little egomaniacal  narcissistic self.
Hint:  Yes, that's the guy who should be "sterilized" for the well being of the Human Gene Pool

Hint:  The Watcher kno this shit is going on and don't do anything about it... luring underage girls into porn.

Conclusion:  The whole fucking thing has and is a product of them who wish to control your consciousness

Stay unindoctrinated, my friends

Sat, 03/01/2014 - 12:23 | 4493481 Big Slick
Big Slick's picture

Bob - I just "up" arrowed you.

ZH has "up" and "down" arrows, so it's different than "like"s, right?

Sat, 03/01/2014 - 12:51 | 4493593 TBT or not TBT
TBT or not TBT's picture

No "dislike" buttons on Fakebook.

Sat, 03/01/2014 - 11:58 | 4493400 A Nanny Moose
A Nanny Moose's picture

Without an FB account, you cannot comment on Huffnpuff Post.

Sat, 03/01/2014 - 15:34 | 4494132 Ranger4564
Ranger4564's picture

That's true for many sites, but why participate? Find other places where it's not required, or just boycott the lot, and let them rot.

Sat, 03/01/2014 - 17:53 | 4494677 ncdirtdigger
ncdirtdigger's picture

Nor on ESPn. Which is why I make sure my dog watches the games she comments on.

Sat, 03/01/2014 - 02:56 | 4492740 TahoeBilly2012
TahoeBilly2012's picture

Jesus Christ is Lord. 

Sat, 03/01/2014 - 03:10 | 4492748 the0ther
the0ther's picture

even if you're right, he's irrelevant. 

Sat, 03/01/2014 - 07:04 | 4492909 prains
prains's picture

Jesus has left the building

Sat, 03/01/2014 - 11:30 | 4493295 Woodhippie
Woodhippie's picture

I doubt Jesus was even in the building.

Sat, 03/01/2014 - 12:57 | 4493617 TBT or not TBT
TBT or not TBT's picture

Given the earliest documents figuring Jesus in them date to a few decades after his death, and the gospel accounts differ from each other, it is a fair bet Jesus was a composite character, or a little re-imagined and spiffed up to sell. Lots of people were crucified back then over a very long span of time. Lots of religious stuff went on. Messiah stories were not new, even to he point of gods or God having a son and so forth.

Sat, 03/01/2014 - 09:21 | 4493008 Zero Point
Zero Point's picture

And a little ashamed of you for saying so in this manner.

Sat, 03/01/2014 - 13:33 | 4493779 FrY10cK
FrY10cK's picture

Cheese is Christ.

Fri, 02/28/2014 - 22:51 | 4492471 sunaJ
sunaJ's picture

There will always be sex involved in the sale of anything.  The most pious Catholic church taught us this ("don't hurt the innocent children!").  But this is something completely different.  It is the middleman for whatever you desire, because they will sell it to you.  Government? No problem.  Pedophiles?  The same.  That is the fundamentals of out latest roll-out in the SP500...they want you to want it.  Fuck them.  And fuck the idea of selling our own intimacies back to them.  They will tear down every door in search of a


Fri, 02/28/2014 - 23:10 | 4492501 flacon
flacon's picture

I agree with the spirit of your post, however: Is there something morally wrong with searching for profit if the exchange is mutual and not coerced? If people are willing to pay for something then there is a profit potential, that's just how the world works. There is nothing wrong with PROFIT. 


I don't know about the rest of the Facebook users, but my account is totally free, I don't have to pay for anything, no monthly fees at all. 


Sat, 03/01/2014 - 00:18 | 4492598 TheReplacement
TheReplacement's picture

All your digital life r belong to us.  It wasn't free by a long shot.

Sat, 03/01/2014 - 06:46 | 4492892 FreedomGuy
FreedomGuy's picture

Profit means simply having something left after expenses. It is neither moral nor immoral. It is accounting. You have to judge the service or product on its own.

For example if you hate guns and their manufacture it really does not make a difference whether the business profits or not,

Sat, 03/01/2014 - 10:17 | 4493061 BraveSirRobin
BraveSirRobin's picture

Fraud and misrepresentation is not free exchange. 

Sat, 03/01/2014 - 10:39 | 4493129 nmewn
nmewn's picture

There is nothing wrong with profit but it should throw up a red flag anytime, anything, is marketed or delivered as "free".

Its like the frrreeee complimentary breakfast at a hotel, does anyone really think the price is not a part of the overall bill whether you eat it or not? Its free to the surfer dude who strolls through and grabs something, sure...but somebody paid for it, just not him.

Same here, the hotel say's free breakfast! The gullible guest say's free breakfast! The surfer dude (in this case, a thief as well, so far) say's free breakfast!

Now, if he bangs your teenage daughter that he met at breakfast and gives her the clap or knocks her up, well, thats free too...and very much unexpected.

But he shouldn't have ever been allowed to eat for free in the first place ;-)

Sat, 03/01/2014 - 11:28 | 4493285 Woodhippie
Woodhippie's picture

I would say you are paying for it.  You are paying with mined data and most likely facial recognition fodder for the surveilance machine.

You just aren't using Federal Reserve note currency.

Sun, 03/02/2014 - 10:20 | 4496717 DrunkenMonkey
DrunkenMonkey's picture

You mean like a driving licence, passport etc. ?

The NSA/KGB/GCHQ et al don't need to pay for your info, they keep a copy of everything that passes thru any data cables they have access to.

Fri, 02/28/2014 - 23:18 | 4492509 BLOTTO
BLOTTO's picture

Also, you can find a lot of narcissistic people and it starts at an earlier age these days with young impressionable teens on these different type of digital social mediums.


They sit 4 to a table in the food court ignoring each other while they all are texting to someone else at the other end of the mall...hows that going?

Fri, 02/28/2014 - 23:20 | 4492519 flacon
flacon's picture

That's true. My theory is that women these days (and probably a whole lot of men) are totally corrupt, like a hard drive that is riddled with cancerous sectors. With many women their operating system won't even load. It's a total wipe-out. Running CHKDSK takes days and days and ends up hanging up. 

Sat, 03/01/2014 - 00:19 | 4492600 TheReplacement
TheReplacement's picture

Use fsck.  It's what's for fixing drives.

Sat, 03/01/2014 - 10:53 | 4493172 flacon
flacon's picture

Isn't fsck for eunichs? ;)

Sat, 03/01/2014 - 01:16 | 4492673 lewietheparrot
lewietheparrot's picture

Right on, sunaJ,

We sell a lot of sex at ZH, as an example---

I am a little surprised at the implied moral indignity of this article

I don't know a thing, though

Sat, 03/01/2014 - 07:49 | 4492931 Bokkenrijder
Bokkenrijder's picture

Come on, the she was probably curious about sex/porn (yes, giuurls are curious too!) and I wouldn't be surprised if she got caught by her parents, and in prudish America that means that a quick excuse has to be made and (other!) people have to be blamed.

Why are you Yanks so bloody uptight about nudity and sex? I know it's cliche, but the US media are full of violence, crime, guns and war for ALL to see, but show a few naked titties, or say the word "fuck" out loud on TV and everybody has a heart attack and cries for (self)censorship!

p.s. FakeBook sucks ass

Sat, 03/01/2014 - 10:01 | 4493044 The Mist
The Mist's picture

Agreed. I'm surprised ZH spends an article on some bullshit like this.

As if we don't know the internet is filled with pervs and porn.

If your 14 year old girl is signing up for a modelling app, you should have a proper chat with her anyway, because apparently she is reflecting her self esteem on her perceived appearance.

Fri, 02/28/2014 - 22:45 | 4492456 Dealer
Dealer's picture

Mike Krieger is a great writer, love reading his stuff.

Sat, 03/01/2014 - 09:32 | 4493015 kaiserhoff
kaiserhoff's picture

Not bad as a writer, and his previous pieces on Facebook were spot on,

  but anyone who thinks American teenage girls are vulnerable and naive can't think for beans. 

Sun, 03/02/2014 - 02:12 | 4496159 Tall Tom
Tall Tom's picture

Most teenage girls are crazed little bubbleheads.


They will drive you out of your mind. Perhaps that is why I cannot think for beans.


And that is why there are laws to "protect" them.


It is unfortunate that it is IMPOSSIBLE for a law to protect anyone. Laws only provide PENALties for those CAUGHT violating them.


So, as an adult or parent, you must protect those bubbleheads from themselves.


WATCH AND LOVE YOUR CHILDREN. Become a part of thier life. They grow up too damned fast. and you'll miss the magical years. You may temporarily lose your mind and cannot think worth beans. That is a fair trade.

Fri, 02/28/2014 - 22:48 | 4492463 A Nanny Moose
A Nanny Moose's picture

Whores in training. FFS.

Unfortunately it ain't limited to the teenagers.

Sat, 03/01/2014 - 02:27 | 4492726 UselessEater
UselessEater's picture

pedophiles, sicko's, exploitation of kids too young to know better and who are not actually told where their image ends up = kids being manipulated /used / groomed in a way even parents are not comprehending

That’s how 14-year-old Erica Lowder’s picture ended up on display to adult men online....were able to click through to the Indianapolis girl’s Facebook page.

a good article to point out to friends who have kids on FB

Sat, 03/01/2014 - 09:11 | 4493001 johnQpublic
johnQpublic's picture

my friends two year old daughter is on facebook


and i dont even know what to say about that

Sat, 03/01/2014 - 11:29 | 4493288 akarc
akarc's picture

Thinking this is one of those case where action speaks louder than words. THere are some stupid people in this world. And then there are those that make stupid look brilliant. They will have her in a beauty pagent next

Sat, 03/01/2014 - 09:28 | 4493009 TN Jed
TN Jed's picture

If you really want to scare them, skip the NYT sob story, point them to Motherless where they can watch these girls blackmailed into stripping on these web cam shows.  I got friends in low places.

Sat, 03/01/2014 - 15:44 | 4494152 johnQpublic
johnQpublic's picture

DO NOT go to that site

theFBI monitors it

you will be arrested and jailed


serious as a heart attack

ask my relation

he was there for 17 seconds

2.5 years in jail without a trial yet

Sun, 03/02/2014 - 02:04 | 4496143 TN Jed
TN Jed's picture

That's crazy talk.  Everything is monitored and it's about as unknown as 4chan.  Don't kid yourself.  I have no problem providing proof of how quickly this web cam ad targeting can turn bad.  Happy to see the downvotes.  I pity kids these days with no room to be a dumb kid.

Sun, 03/02/2014 - 03:02 | 4496235 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

honestly, I've been there, lots of content is perfectly legal. Anything that isn't does get removed on regular sweeps. They have to or the entire site would be gone. May be sick & wish you hadn't looked but you won't click anything illegal by accident.

Fri, 02/28/2014 - 22:49 | 4492466 tony bonn
tony bonn's picture

facebook is a bucket of horse feces

Fri, 02/28/2014 - 22:57 | 4492484 RevRex
RevRex's picture

That's ridiculous. Horse feces have actual uses, like fertilizing my garden.

Fri, 02/28/2014 - 23:10 | 4492504 jon dough
jon dough's picture

My bucket objects to your slander, too...

Fark farcebook.

Fri, 02/28/2014 - 22:50 | 4492469 SilverIsMoney
SilverIsMoney's picture

Deleted my facebook a week before they went public. I missed it for a month or so and now my only reminder of it's existence is ZH talking about it. Once you delete your FB - I MEAN DELETE IT BROS, DON'T HALF ASS IT WITH AN TEMP DELETE OR WHATEVER- DELETE IT! - you'll realize after a few months you can just txt the people you wanna talk to and al the crap your friends were posting there wasn't worth your time anyways.


Oh, btw... there's a reason it's free you dopes... just delete it for your own sake.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!