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How Big Pharma Finds Sick Users on Facebook (science.thewire.in)

If you’re a drug manufacturer looking for patients, one company has become a major destination in the past few years: Facebook.

The social media giant, through its power to target users based on their interests, is especially attractive to pharmaceutical companies looking to sell drugs to potential patients. The Washington Post reported last year that health and pharmaceutical companies spent almost $1 billion on just Facebook mobile ads in 2019. The draw? Unlike a traditional TV or radio ad, Facebook’s ad categories help those companies target their drug ads at users who likely suffer from a specific illness the drug treats.

And data from The Markup’s Citizen Browser project – which collects Facebook data from thousands of users – shows how precise and wide-ranging that targeting is.

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