> We eventually identified a psychological trick:
> 1. Set the app’s Instagram profile to Private.
> 2. Set the bio to something mysterious, e.g., “You’ve been invited to the new RHS app—stay tuned!”
> 3. Follow the targeted users.
> 4. Wait 24 hours to receive the inbound Follow Requests. (They were curious about our profile so they requested access)
> 5. At 4:00PM when school gets out (The Golden Launch HouseTM), add the App Store URL to the profile.
> 6. Finally, make the profile Public
> This notified all students at the same time that their Follow Request had been accepted—and they subsequently visited our profile, looked at our App Store page, and tried the app.
What Happened Next probably won't Shock You!
The Royal Horticultural Society are really upping their social media game.
The idea of a company targeting and following individual high school students on instagram does feel a bit "off" to me. If facebook or any other billion dollar public company were doing this, a bit of public uproar would not be out of line, even if it is perfectly legal.
But it sounds like TBH stopped doing this after they were acquired by FB, claiming that the methods were too “scrappy” for a big company. While facebook is of course now ultimately responsible for any actions that TBH took in the past, trying to make a big stink about it after they have already stopped (and using misleading headlines to boot) feels a bit disingenuous.
I know that the "target audience" is an established term in business lingo, but when FB is involved they mean it in the literal sense: "you can check-out any time you like, but you can never leave" (as the great poets narrated)
In the U.S., high school is 13+, depending on when the student was born.
Age of adulthood is 18.
I didn't realise that US schools have lower age, though - but no one differentiates between the young ones and the older ones even though the majority should be older than 15, right?
It makes about as much sense as it sounds like.
It's also worth noting that until recently the drinking age varied from state to state. I grew up in New York and it was 19.
The uniform 21 age didn't come about until pressure groups like MADD went after the politicians. I believe that the feds ended up tying a 21 mandate to highway funding. (The same trick that's used to keep the public schools in line.)
And since we're on driving, the driving age varies from state to state, as well. It's as low as 16 in South Dakota. Most states it's 18, but lowered in "hardship" cases, like farm families where the kids might need to drive a tractor across a public road to get from field to field.
In South Dakota you can get a permit at 14.
Is an ice cream truck playing music and slowing rolling down your street on a hot summer day also a psychological trick we need to guard against? Accounting for human congregations and 'appealing to their curiosity' is a part of the human existence.
Downloading junk is also a life lesson, they will learn.
Mega-corporation - with deep pockets, professional advice, etc - stalks teenagers and does targeted personalized campaign, it is teenagers fault to fall for it... I see a "blame the victim" attitude here.
> Is an ice cream truck playing music and slowing rolling down your street on a hot summer day also a psychological trick we need to guard against?
The truck guy does not know my name, the school I go to or any other data beyond that I am in the neighborhood and can hear the sound or see the truck. The truck is fishing.
Facebook is collecting personalized data, creating profiles and targeting unsuspecting minors that feel "special" for being chosen without knowing the reasons.
> TBH described its methods as “too ‘scrappy’” for a big company.
So the same company that had the idea has the same concerns about it.
There is somethings that are not-so-bad (but bad) when done in an small scale, but become horrible at a bigger scale.
> Mega-corporation - with deep pockets, professional advice, etc - stalks teenagers and does targeted personalized campaign, it is teenagers fault to fall for it... I see a "blame the victim" attitude here.
You're really extrapolating quite a straw man from the original statement there. There's a lot of people out there that want to (and will, if given the change) scam you. Arguing that it's better to learn that in a way that at least doesn't lose you any actual money is not the same as blaming people who fall for it and/or implying that they deserve it.
Sure, but even something like ice cream truck music is regulated: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/...
I understand that it's up to people to be their own judge, but people en masse are vulnerable to all this marketing stuff. This in particular just seems somewhat more invasive.
But I agree with parent commenter in that let's not pretend Facebook is doing anything unique and/or the only ones doing this type of stuff.
"This shit will fuck you up six ways from Sunday but we make a ton of money off of it so ask your doctor..."
Not in the US, of course.
Something to keep in mind: not all drugs are bad. And even those that get a historical bad rap are ok in _moderation_ - some drugs are very helpful and necessary for certain conditions.
If drug ads and/or neuromarketing can improve patient outcomes by improving the likelihood that a patient complies with treatment, then is that all that bad?
Because one thing is more harmful doesn’t mean the other doesn’t cause harm.
Then we could debate whether targeted assault at free will is in principle bad or not.
As it is, neuromarketing is not used for good. It's used to exploit people.
It's like asking if killing random strangers on the street is straightforwardly evil, because there's a remote possibility that they're all alien shapeshifters out to destroy our way of life.
When you find a bug, do you fix the bug, or do you go "ohh, but this isn't the first time anything ever had a bug"? When someone flashes you in the park, do you call the cops or do you say "it's hardly unique for this person to be doing this"?
The article is kinda meh, there really isn't anything to discuss, but that doesn't make lying to kids to push another product noble or interesting. I'd sooner interested in the upbringing of the people who enter that "field" than their own rationalizations. I've seen enough to know there's a problem behind the chaff.
They rest of the stuff they seems pretty normal and is actually pretty clever in my mind.
"Facebook's Teen App" really means "Third Party App Facebook Eventually Acquired"
Also, so much fluff to get to the point? Buzzfeed, these articles could be much better reads with some editing to cut down the length, avoiding repeating points a few times and getting to the crux of the matter quickly.
Buzzfeed's "News" Articles Used Psychological Tricks To Make Teens Think They Were More In-Depth and Professional Journalism-y Than They Actually Are
I mean marketing is marketing and always has been, but where it is today the Mad Men era marketing guys couldn't have DREAMED of having. You can now target demographics with laser precision and choose the exact sort of message that's going to hit the hardest. I mean I'm all for marketing fluff and a certain level of salesmanship, that's what capitalism is based on. But you've got actual scientists putting their best foot forward to get Joe Everyman to buy, download, watch, play, stream, etc. and all the discussions I see about this paint it as even odds. That's laughable. Joe doesn't stand a fucking chance, and we all know it, and we all just keep acting like that's ok.
"Our team obsessed with finding ways to get individual high schools to adopt a product simultaneously."
Seriously? getting a bunch of kids to adopt a product is what you want to obsess about? How about helping companies make a product that's not shit so you don't have to trick kids into using it.
Take a dating app/site for example. You join - there's 2 people on the platform and they are no where near your location. People leave and the product fails.
Start a social media app/site that doesn't have the backing of a large company and large media/news advertising - you join, no one is there. People leave and the product fails.
Start an app like instagram where you can upload all your photos. The bulk joining doesn't matter as much, as the social aspect is not the primary purpose and that can come later. Product can grow and the "social" aspect can develop over time.
Apps are marketed and given away for free to collect data on how to influence children. In many cases they're designed to be habit forming or addicting.
The one true thing teens want is freedom from parents and other relatives: they mostly represent a repressive force (positive or negative is not the issue) and they want to interact with other teens freely.
By the way, what's Facebook Quick Promotion that they mention? Is this a special kind of ad on Facebook?