Facebook and Instagram to delete sensitive ads linked to race, politics and more
Meta parental company of Facebook has recently announced some changes to its Ads policy. According to a post on the Meta for Business blog, the company is blocking advertisers from using detailed ad targeting options that show ads based on your engagement in sensitive areas including race or ethnicity, religious views, political beliefs, sexual orientation, health, and a whole lot more.
“Starting January 19, 2022, we will remove Detailed Targeting options that relate to topics people may perceive as sensitive, such as options referencing causes, organisations, or public figures that relate to health, race or ethnicity, political affiliation, religion, or sexual orientation,” the company said in a statement.
Meta emphasizes that detailed targeting options aren’t actually based on your physical characteristics or personal choices. Rather, they’re what advertisers think you might be interested in based on your activity. Even still, detailed targeting can be harmful. Predatory ads can feel discriminatory, reinforce addictions, negatively influence behavior, and even cause mental distress.
Previously, advertisers could target ads to anti-Semitic categories and pseudoscience. It also let companies target housing, job, and credit ads by “multicultural affinity” that could exclude certain races.
Facebook VP of Civil Rights, Roy Austin said: This wasn’t an easy decision. Some of our advertising partners have expressed concerns about these targeting options going away because of their ability to help generate positive societal change. We know this change will negatively impact some businesses and organizations.
The change will go into effect across Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger on January 19th, 2022. However, this still won’t stop Meta from targeting you based on your age, gender, and location — it just might prevent you from getting targeted based on your online persona’s affinity for an oddly specific subgroup.