Facebook removes sensitive targeting options

Anne Freer | November 16, 2021

Mobile Advertising

Facebook is working hard to change its negative image by bolstering its privacy regulation. In light of recent changes, the social network removed several ad targeting options.

“We want to better match people’s evolving expectations of how advertisers may reach them on our platform and address feedback from civil rights experts, policymakers and other stakeholders on the importance of preventing advertisers from abusing the targeting options we make available. Today, we’re announcing a difficult decision that balances these important considerations,” the company said in a blog post.

As of January 2022, Facebook will remove detailed targeting options that relate to sensitive topics such as public figures, race, health and political or religious affiliation.

Examples of the types of targeting that will be removed would be health causes such as “lung cancer awareness” or religious terms like “Jewish holidays”.

The move follows expert guidance that suggests targeting options like these could influence users’ experiences negatively.

However Facebook admits that removing these targeting features also makes advertising for good causes significantly harder.

For example, a diabetes charity will no longer be able to target for “World Diabetes Day” from next year.

Facebook offered tips and tricks to reach relevant audiences using its Engagement Custom Audiences for users who already like a group’s page. Businesses can also use Lookalike Audiences and Website Custom Audiences to reach engaged users.

Location targeting remains available to reach people nearby.

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