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Facebook to Remove Detailed Targeting Options Referring to Sensitive Ads, Including Gambling

Facebook has announced that it plans to remove the detailed targeting options that could potentially refer to sensitive topics, such as health, race, political beliefs, religious practices, or sexual orientation) for advertisers. Furthermore, the social media giant revealed that it will soon provide its users with the chance to exclude themselves from receiving ads regarding other sensitive topics such as gambling and weight loss in case people decide they do not want to be approached by advertisers with promotional messages on those topics.

The social media platform has had some difficulties to draw the line between the advantages of ad targeting and providing people or companies with access to its customer base only to use the aforementioned sensitive areas or attributes to discriminate users in advertising.

The latest announcement of Facebook has outlined the new limits for advertisers to use personal and sensitive traits when targeting their customers on the social network. As revealed by the Vice President of ads product marketing at Facebook, Graham Mudd, the company wants to make sure that advertisers better meet the expectations of the customers in terms of ways they can use to reach them. Mr. Mudd explained that the company was willing to make the best it can do to prevent advertisers from abusing the targeting options that are currently available on the social media platform, especially when it comes to sensitive topics or strictly monitored industries such as gambling.

The newly unveiled plans cover the ad manager platform of Facebook, which serves ads to both Facebook and Instagram. The platform also features some other opportunities for ad placement from third parties.

Removal of Detailed Targeting from Facebook’s Ad Manager to Start on January 19th, 2022

The removal of the so-called “detailed targeting” from the aforementioned ad manager platform is set to start on January 19th, 2022. As reported above, this type of targeting involves a variety of options that relate to various sensitive topics, including race or ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, political affiliation, health, etc.

According to experts, the move comes at a time when Facebook wants to avoid the perception that the social media platform is only fueling the fire at a time when the aforementioned topics are considered hot-button subjects. Some analysts, such as the long-time ad tech expert Matt Barash, however, believe that the decision for the removal of the detailed targeting would harm the advertisers that not only really need the vast reach and the efficiency of Facebook’s ad manager but also act under the best of intentions.

As previously revealed, Facebook revealed that it will start offering the chance for its users to opt out of adverts associated with gambling and weight loss, among others. The social media company noted that its users’ interests were not collected for ad targeting based on their personal characteristics and attributes. However, third-party advertisers could often work out their targeting strategies based on the users’ preferred content or the type of accounts they followed.

Previously, the ad targeting platform of Facebook faced criticism for providing abusive advertisers with the opportunity to tailor advertising campaigns that had been considered discriminatory in terms of topics such as housing, employment and finance. Advertisers were able to set their targeting parameters in a way to avoid reaching protected groups with their ads based on the customers’ ethnicities, religions, or genders.

 Author: Hannah Wallace

Hannah Wallace has been part of our team since the website was launched. She has a master’s degree in IT.