Facebook Showed White People Different 'Straight Outta Compton' Trailers

Universal Pictures created two different Straight Outta Compton for different races for Facebook.

Universal Pictures and Facebook teamed up with a unique marketing strategy. Instead of showing one trailer to everyone on Facebook, Facebook delivered you a different movie trailer based upon your race. It's partly genius and at the same time it feels eerily racist like a bigoted big brother is telling me what movie I should go see. According to Business Insider, at SXSW on Thursday, Universal Marketing chief Doug Neil and Jim Underwood, Facebook's head of entertainment, discussed the partnership and described the movie's success as a victory for "race-specific" marketing.


Calling Facebook's white population as the "general population", Universal's Marketing cheif said the reasoning behind showing white Facebook users a different trailer was the demographic's lack of knowledge surrounding rap history, according to Doug Neil. "They connected to Ice Cube as an actor and Dr. Dre as the face of Beats," he said. So Universal's "multicultural team", worked with the social network to create a different movie trailer that would center around two men's rise without attaching it to the rap group N.W.A.

What did the movie trailer look like for African American users?

According to the report, African American Facebook users were shown a movie trailer that featured N.W.A and highlighted on how the group got started. "They put Compton on the map," he said.

What about Hispanics?

Universal showed a specific trailer to Hispanic users that showed words in Spanish on the screen.

How did Facebook do it?

It's important to point out that Facebook doesn't let users identify based on race. Instead, Facebook looks for other "identifiers" such as, grammar, pages you've liked and other specific actions on the social network. Facebook says that they didn't target users based on race specifically but, how much they believe you associate with a particular race.

the company is only able to target ads based on what the user has shown an interest in seeing, which is not necessarily indicative of that person's race. [The Verge>

Did it work?

It's hard to say exactly because correlation does not equal causation but, the movie did extremely well in the box office earning $200 million. That being said it's pretty scary to see how much of an influence or marketing Facebook can deliver to a user. I would expect movie trailers to be designed and created for a person's personality, family history, and sexual preferences in the next few years. You can watch all of the different movie trailers created by Universal below and see if you can tell the differences:

Did Facebook go too far? Share with us your thoughts in the comments below!

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