Facebook will remove sensitive ad targeting groups from next year
After shutting down the controversial Face Recognition system last week, Facebook now says it’ll remove ad targeting groups that allow advertisers to target users based on race, political views, religion, and other sensitive topics.
In a blog post on Tuesday, Facebook (now Meta) announced that starting next year, it will remove “Detailed Targeting” options that serve users ads based on their engagement with sensitive topics like health causes, sexual orientation, religious practices, and political beliefs. The change will apply across Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger from January 2022.
“Starting January 19, 2022, we will remove Detailed Targeting options that relate to topics people may perceive as sensitive, such as options referencing causes, organizations, or public figures that relate to health, race or ethnicity, political affiliation, religion, or sexual orientation,” wrote Graham Mudd, VP Product Marketing, Ads, Meta.
Facebook clarifies that the interest targeting options that are being removed aren’t based on people’s physical characteristics or personal attributes but based on people’s interaction with such content.
We’ve heard concerns from experts – including civil rights groups – that options like these could be used in ways that lead to negative experiences for people in underrepresented groups. (2/4) https://t.co/r2Tv0VNEB4
— Roy Austin, Jr. (@RAustin_Jr) November 9, 2021
Facebook says the decision to remove Detailed Targeting options was a difficult one as it will likely impact many businesses and organizations around the world that rely on these tools. Advertisers, however, can still target users by location, age, and gender.
Facebook says it will also be adding additional ad controls to let users opt out of certain types of ads. The company already gives users the option to see fewer ads related to politics, pets, alcohol, and parenting. And starting next year, users will be able to control more types of ad content, including gaming and weight loss, and more.
The change follows Facebook’s recent decision to stop collecting facial recognition data on its platform.