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  • Meerelle Cruz

Thousands Of Ad Targeting Categories Related To Sensitive Topics Have Been Removed From Facebook

Facebook is deleting a slew of precise ad targeting choices that connect to potentially troublesome topics and causes to comply with evolving privacy standards. Starting January 19, 2022, Facebook will remove Detailed Targeting options that reference causes, organizations, or public figures that are related to health, race or ethnicity, political affiliation, religion, or sexual orientation, as well as options referencing causes, organizations, or public figures that are related to health, race or ethnicity, political affiliation, religion, or sexual orientation.

In other words, you won't be able to target your ads based on issues such as "World Diabetes Day" or other health concerns, nor will you be able to target factors such as sexual orientation, political beliefs, or other personal characteristics.

Facebook said hundreds of options will be removed from the system, which includes a wide range of targeting qualifications. For example, if you want to target a political audience, you have a variety of affiliation-based themes to choose from right now.

Many of them will soon be gone, which will have a significant influence on cause-based marketers, political parties, healthcare brands, and others. It might also lead to a shift in strategy for companies that have made particular concerns part of their brand messaging. According to many studies, young customers are more willing to buy from brands that support causes and movements with which they agree, and as a result, these firms have been able to exploit this as a marketing angle to engage with these communities. In this regard, the elimination of certain targeted features may have an impact.

Even so, you'll still be able to target groups based on similar criteria. Brands will still be able to utilize Engagement Custom Audiences to reach people who have liked their Page or watched their videos on Facebook, and you'll be able to use the same as the basis for Lookalike targeting, along with your email lists, according to Facebook.

So, while targeting based on many of these categories will still be available, it will no longer be in such a particular manner, absolving Facebook of any liability for any unintentional uses of such targeting.

So what's the deal with the change?

Facebook can't legally target users based on these parameters without explicit authorization from each individual under the EU's stricter consumer data protection rules (GDPR). That rule went into force in 2018, and Facebook has been fighting it since then. However, with the broader, global shift toward more privacy and data management for users, it appears that Facebook has decided to surrender the point, and line with the more precise regulations on the subject. On some levels, this makes sense, but it's simply another step in the platform's steady reduction of ad targeting possibilities, which have previously been curtailed due to other possibly discriminatory considerations.

There are still methods to get around this, and there are still other ways for Facebook's ads to be utilized in discriminatory ways. However, by removing these precise ad qualifiers, the corporation will ensure that it meets its legal obligations and avoids potential penalties. It's simply a reminder to collect first-party data about your audience everywhere you can to create your focus lists, which you can then segment and target with greater control outside of the apps themselves.

Existing ad sets with impacted targeting options will run until March 17, 2022, according to Facebook, albeit you may need to alter your targeting options at some point. Wherever possible, Facebook says it will provide alternate targeting recommendations in Ads Manager.

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