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"It's not disturbing, it's disgusting." Karl Stefanovic's call to arms to protect children.

Today Show host Karl Stefanovic has accused Facebook of a “disgusting” ploy to target and profit from children at their most vulnerable.

Responding to The Australian’s report that the social media site searches for keywords such as “stressed” and “insecure” in posts to target users as young as 14 with ads, Stefanovic voiced his disgust.

The 41-year-old called for the company to “show some accountability”, urging Facebook to protect children, not exploit them.

In a passionate monologue, Stefanovic quoted Dr Simon Longstaff from The Ethics Centre who described Facebook “seeking to profit from the vulnerabilities” of children as “disturbing”.

“Hello! It is not disturbing, it is disgusting,” Stefanovic said.

“So Facebook deliberately targeted our vulnerable young to profit. Deliberately targets our most vulnerable young for profit. Does anyone else care? I do.”

Stefanovic said the company was unlikely to be faced with legal problems for this “travesty” due to legislative gaps in privacy laws.

Karl Stefanovic said the action's of the company were disgusting. (Image via Today Show.)
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"The laws simply aren't keeping up with technology and they are not protecting our kids."

"Surely Facebook or any company is obligated to protect our children, not take advantage of them. To show some accountability. Facebook, face up."

Stefanovic went on to discuss the matter with Ray Hadley from 2GB, who agreed the matter was a "disgrace".

Later on in the breakfast show, Shelly Horton and Ian Skippen also criticised the company's tactics.

"These social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, they are free but we are paying with our privacy," Horton said.

Listen: If your kids spend all night on Facebook and Snapchat instead of snoozing, this will guarantee they wake up fresh as a daisy. (Post continues after audio.)

Facebook has been copping backlash since The Australian report was published. However, a Facebook spokesperson told Mamamia that the research has been misrepresented, and "was never used to target ads".

"Facebook does not offer tools to target people based on their emotional state," the spokesperson said.

Leading cyber safety expert Susan McLean said Facebook did a great deal of research "to work out how people are expressing their emotions online".

"Organisations like Facebook are interested in how their audience is feeling, and whether they're able to express those feelings within the parameters of their platform."

McLean said she didn't believe Facebook were using that research to target vulnerable young people with advertising.

Do you think privacy or data protection laws need to be tightened in Australia?

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