Facebook blocks Israeli ‘brainwashing’ firm ‘The Spinner’

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Facebook has blocked an Israeli start-up called The Spinner from its platform amid concerns over the company’s attempts to ‘brainwash’ users with misleading adverts.  

The Spinner claims to be able to ‘subconsciously influence’ a person’s thinking by bombarding them with misleading posts disguised as unbiased editorial content. 

The social media giant objected to the firm using Facebook and Instagram and has banned the company and its boss from the sites for any purpose.   

 

The Spinner’s co-founder and chief operating officer Elliot Shefler revealed to the BBC this will not stop the company from its mission. 

He also refused to rule out using Facebook in the future. 

The Spinner is a site which offers customers the chance to buy a bunch of articles with he hope of brainwashing another person. 

For example, a set of ten articles can be purchased for $79 and targeted at a person’s wife to persuade her to ‘initiate sex’, according to the Spinner’s website. 

Other campaigns include a set of articles designed to encourage a boyfriend to propose, nudge parents to purchase a dog, and persuade someone to quit smoking or drinking. 

Some of the campaigns on offer from The Spinner are more morally abhorrent, including targeting your own partner to persuade them to engage in a polyamorous relationship, with articles such as ‘How Polyamory Saved My Marriage’. 

An article titled ‘Four Tips to Help You Settle Your Divorce Out of Court’ is listed as one example from the campaign designed to tempt your disgruntled spouse into not going through with the divorce. 

Facebook’s law firm Perkins Coie sent a letter to Mr Shefler to complain about its practices, the BBC reports. 

‘It appears that The Spinner uses fake accounts and fake Facebook Pages to ‘strategically bombard’ Facebook users with advertisements,’ it reads.

‘These activities violate Facebook’s terms and advertising policies. Facebook demands that you stop this activity immediately.’

Facebook says the ads have now been removed, but Spinner claims it was posting on Facebook for more than a year. 

Elliot Shefler, The Spinner’s COO told MailOnline: ‘The Spinner never promised the content would appear specifically on Facebook or any other ad network. 

‘Messages may be exposed on major social networks, thousands of news sites, mail apps, games, anywhere you see ads.

‘Most of the time the target is exposed to the chosen message on news websites. See screenshots.

‘Posts are not fake. We only promote articles published by reliable news platforms.

‘The Spinner’s ability to deliver content to targeted users is not dependent on any specific social account or page. It’s a concept.

‘Continuous exposure to repetitive headlines and images delivering the campaign messages has been shown to be highly effective. ‘

 

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