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Straight Outta Compton

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Facebook users saw different Straight Outta Compton trailers depending on their race


Universal Pictures and Facebook teamed up to create custom trailers for white audiences to promote the N.W.A. film Straight Outta Compton, scrubbing any mention of the rap group and instead focusing on the rise of Ice Cube and Dr. Dre. Universal marketing chief Doug Neil and Jim Underwood, Facebook's head of entertainment, discussed the partnership on a SXSW today in Austin and described the film's success as a victory for race-specific marketing, according to Business Insider.


The reasoning behind showing white Facebook users a different trailer was the demographic's lack of expertise on rap history, according to Neil. "They connected to Ice Cube as an actor and Dr. Dre as the face of Beats," he said, using the phrase "general population" when speaking about non-African American and non-Hispanic viewers. So Universal's "multicultural team," as it's called, worked with the social network to cut and serve a unique trailer that would detail the two men's rise without tying it to N.W.A. The trailer shown to African American Facebook users, Neil added, opened with the word N.W.A. and prominently highlighted the group's Compton beginnings. "They put Compton on the map," he said. Universal also showed a special trailer to Hispanic Facebook users that displayed words in Spanish on the screen.


Facebook's ability to do targeted marketing and Universal's willingness to use it shows just how filtered the social network can become as a source of information and even entertainment. We also don't know how else and for how long Facebook has been doing this type of a race-specific ad targeting. The company was not immediately available for comment.


not sure how you feel about this? that's okay, enjoy this!


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Update at 9:55PM ET, Thursday, March 17th: Clarified that Facebook does not let users self-identify based on race. So ads are targeted based only on information it infers from profiles and what users have shown an interest in.

Update at 10:19PM ET, Thursday. March 17th: Clarified the headline to reflect the fact that Facebook cannot target ads based on race.


I wonder what race Facebook would infer that I am. And since they're so wrapped up in stereotypes, you'd confuse the hell out of them, NZA!

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The cool thing from Facebook's perspective is that Nick wouldn't need to be an actual black guy for the 'black' ad to work on him. He'd go see the movie because the NWA/Compton-focused trailer would be the one that piqued his interest.

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