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> TBH noticed that teens often list their high school in their Instagram bio. So, using a private Instagram account of its own, the company would visit a school’s location page and follow all accounts that included the school’s name.

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.

EDIT: I initially missed the fact that TBH was essentially pretending to be affiliated with the school of the kids they were targeting, by creating a new account per school and saying things like "You’ve been invited to the new <school name here> app—stay tuned!" (A fairly dumb oversight on my part as that's essentially the whole point of the story). This is indeed hugely deceitful and having re-read the article it changes my opinion entirely. Facebook should be banning companies that pull stunts like this instead of buying them out for millions. I would like to see Facebook issue a statement clarifying their position on these kinds of marketing ploys, update terms of use if necessary to prevent them, and also probably issue an apology.




> tactics explicitly designed to target young users

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)


Isn't that how Facebook got started: by creating networks based around schools? I don't see the big deal, especially if the school isn't developing new communication tools for students.


I think OP's beef is high school vs college.


Are highschoolers considered not able to make their own decisions in the US? In my country, high school means you're 15 and up, and that means that you're basically an adult, with some exceptions (both de facto and de iure); then depending on how much you actually act as an adult, you're allowed to do things. E.g. it's possible to ask a judge to allow you to start a company; all contracts you enter are legally binding if it's reasonable that you understood them, etc.


Are highschoolers considered not able to make their own decisions in the US? In my country, high school means you're 15 and up, and that means that you're basically an adult

In the U.S., high school is 13+, depending on when the student was born.

Age of adulthood is 18.


Age of adulthood is 18 here as well, but you're a "limited adult" de iure (sorry, not exact translation, not sure how to translate correctly) between 15 and 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?


I thought age of adulthood was 21 in the US? You can't drink till then or enter a lot of places alone?


You stop being a minor at 18 for legal purposes, but there are still random restrictions on what you can do (like drinking or buying handguns) until 21.

It makes about as much sense as it sounds like.


Yeah, at 18 you don't have enough sense to drink alcohol responsibly, but you are allowed to vote. This shows how little this country thinks of voting.


I think it has to do with 18 also being the age you can be drafted and sent to war. Theoretically, it keeps the politicians who send people to war answerable to those people.

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.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Driver%27s_licenses_in_the_Uni...


Most states allow driving by yourself without an adult at 16, but usually have some sort of restriction like curfew until 18: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Driver%27s_licenses_in_the_Uni...


I don't think the motive is necessarily creating stink. I think it may also in part be because other startups might want to use this technique, and YC is an incubator...




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