A leaked Facebook report has revealed details about the highly-sophisticated sentiment-analysis technology the company is employing to detect if teen users are feeling negative emotions.
Revelations about the technology came out in a 23-page report obtained by The Australian newspaper. The report provided extensive details on the social-media giant’s capability to discern when young users are suffering specific emotion including defeat, stress, anxiety or being overwhelmed, according to CNBC.
Facebook acknowledged it shared this information with an advertiser, raising concerns that companies could exploit teens’ insecurities to target them with certain kinds of marketing. For example, an acne cream company potentially could aim its advisements at teens whose social-media posts reveal they may be feeling insecurity about their looks.
However, Facebook stated the information transfer was a mistake and said its policies prohibit advertisers from targeting its users based on their emotional state.
Facebook’s sentiment-analysis technology can discern the emotional state of users as young as 14, according to the report. Beyond monitoring negative feelings, the technology can determine when young users are exhibiting nervous excitement and having emotional responses to conquering their fears, CNBC reports.
Sentiment-analysis techniques increasingly are being employed in marketing activities, particularly in social-media channels. Beyond using sentiment analysis to target advertising, brands are using it to monitor social trends, helping to shape strategy. The technology also allows companies to create personalized online experiences, with the goal of promoting consumer loyalty.
Outside of sales and marketing, the technology can help gauge public opinion on a range of issues, including politics.
Facebook also may have a very important reason for taking interest in monitoring the emotions of teen users that transcends monetary gains. In recent times, a number of young people have expressed suicidal intentions on social-medial channels. News reports have covered incidents of some teenagers evenbroadcasting attempts to end their lives on Facebook Live in recent times.
The use of sentiment-analysis techniques could aid Facebook in uncovering early signs of suicidal behavior and potentially help prevent teens from engaging in such self-destructive acts.
Facebook revealed it’s using utilizing artificial intelligence and pattern recognition technologies to determine whether people making certain posts may be suicidal, according to an article in TechCrunch. If the technologies flag such a post, Facebook will review it and offer help to users if needed.
The company indicated it may add this kind of AI technology to Facebook Live and Messenger in the future.
Tyler Schulze is vice president, strategy & development at Veritone. He serves as general manager for developer partnerships, cognitive engine ecosystem, and media ingestion for the Veritone Artificial Intelligence Platform™ (VAIP). Learn more about our platform and join the Veritone developer ecosystem today.