It appears that Facebook is considering taking legal action against The Spinner, a startup company based in the United Kingdom that provides social media targeted ads for individual users.
According to the social media giant, The Spinner is to have used Facebook, as well as other social media platforms, to help companies that promote gambling into manipulating people so they would spend more money at online casinos.
The Spinner is a company that provides what is referred to as “sniper targeting” ads on social media platforms. This practice sends sets of ads to users focused on a particular subject.
To this point, The Spinner has been focused on offering programs and teachings on how to “brainwash” one’s wife into having sex more regularly. In addition, they have provided ads helping people to stop smoking and other similar types of advertisements.
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In an interview with Forbes, spokesperson Elliott Shefler explained that there has been a growing number of requests from gambling firms to start providing these sniper targeted ads on platforms such as Facebook.
“In 2019, a few online casino operators have started using this method to influence their existing players, mostly slots players, to login and play more often,” he explained in the interview. “Those players are being exposed to hundreds of articles with titles like ‘Wisconsin man hits $1.3 million jackpot at Flamingo’ or ‘Lucky local cashes over $150K jackpot at Vegas-area casino’ on their social media feeds.”
The concern is that these ads actually targeted minors. In fact, Schefler was specifically asked if advertisements for online gambling could appear to children under 18, but the spokesperson explained that he could not provide such information.
It is already widely accepted that Facebook has become one of the greatest tools to manipulate users. According to several studies conducted, including by the United States Congress, the platform has been used to influence such things as elections, the products we purchase, even our moral values and sexual habits. This is why it was not surprising that a company would actually use the platform to target users.
What is surprising is that it stopped there. Only a small number of firms have been using Facebook as a tool to reach consumers to encourage them toward online casinos and gaming websites. It would seem that there would be hundreds of these, if not thousands trying to reach the billions of Facebook users.
A spokesman for Facebook explained that the company is taking this seriously. “We are taking enforcement actions against The Spinner and evaluating legal options. We have no tolerance for bad actors that try to circumvent our policies and create bad experiences for people on Facebook.”
According to the spokesman, The Spinner had violated several business practices and the company is taking steps to try to prevent this in the future.