One of the most frequently covered subjects of 2021 was the nature of Facebook’s ad targeting with many users considering them downright intrusive. In order to try and mitigate the fallout caused by an unhappy consumer base Facebook and its umbrella corporation Meta is looking to implement some changes in early January that will endeavour to remove some of the more sensitive subjects that are currently available as ad targeting options.
Which Targeting Options are Affected?
As mentioned within their own press release announcement, the key targeting options that will be removed from the platform “relate to topics people may perceive as sensitive”. The primary fields they have outlined include health, race, ethnicity, political affiliation, religion or sexual orientation and have offered a series of topic examples on the “detailed targeting options” that will be the first to go as a part of this update;
- Health-centric causes such as chemotherapy, cancer awareness and days dedicated to certain ailments.
- Information on sexual orientation and posts detailing subjects such as same-sex marriage and LGBT culture.
- Religious practices and affiliated groups alongside posts discussing subjects such as churches and ideologies.
- Political beliefs and social issues that may lead to the causing of harm or offence to other users.
What is the Purpose of These Changes?
The sectors experiencing change are all intrinsically linked to subjects those certain users may find personal, Facebook and Meta are therefore looking to improve the experience of those that may belong to one of these groups by not making them available to be specifically targeted by advertising campaigns. Facebook and Meta simply do not have enough manpower to individually manage and check each unique advertising post and therefore a good portion of the campaigns on the platform are automated leaving the nature of the post mainly to the creator’s discretion. This has led to advertisers abusing the targeting options available to them and potentially exposing these groups to posts that may have negative implications.
These Changes Will be Implemented Starting January 19th 2022 and Serve to Kickstart a New Era of Advertising on the Facebook Platform.
Changes Going into the Future
The removal of sensitive ad targeting options is but the first step in the changes Meta has in mind for the Facebook platform with it being stated in the Ad control press release that they are “working to expand the control that allows people to choose to see fewer ads about certain types of content.” This would further serve to make the consumer’s experience more pleasant through the avoidance or limitation of unpleasant or irrelevant ads and if implemented properly can help to make the platform safer for users of all ages
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