Meta to deploy feature to remove ad targets of sensitive content

Facebook and Instagram’s parent company, Meta, announced Tuesday that it is looking to remove ad targets of sensitive content by prohibiting advertisers’ usage of detailed targeting options based on interaction with sensitive fields.

In a blog post on the Meta for Business blog, the recently rebranded social media platform is seeking to diminish advertisers’ supremacy by blocking ads that target areas, such as race or ethnicity, religious views, political beliefs, sexual orientation, health, and so much more.

“We’ve heard concerns from experts that targeting options like these could be used in ways that lead to negative experiences for people in underrepresented groups,” Meta’s vice president for marketing and ads, Graham Mudd, wrote in the post.

The removal of detailed targeted ads based on sensitive content will initiate on January 19, 2022. This move will shift Meta’s advertising business – accounting for approximately 98 percent of its global revenue.

According to Mudd, the not-so-surprising change in tactics for the Menlo-Park company derives from worries from civil rights specialists and lawmakers. These parties vocalized their concerns regarding a remarkable number of advertisers unethically exploiting the platform’s targeting options.

The most significant aspect is that these ad targets are taking into consideration users’ interactive behavior with the content from Meta products, including Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger.

“The decision to remove these Detailed Targeting options was not easy and we know this change may negatively impact some businesses and organizations,” Mudd explained.

“Some of our advertising partners have expressed concerns about these targeting options going away because of their ability to help generate positive societal change, while others understand the decision to remove them,” he added.

From another stance, digital ad-buying specialists stated that Meta’s latest maneuver will destructively affect both profit and non-profit affairs groups depending on ad targeting to fundraise income, according to The New York Times. 

The conglomerate is constructing a plan to remove a variety of its “sensitive” detailed targeting options, following occasions where the social networking platform was forced to extract debatable categories in the past.

This came as a follow-up after it was highlighted that Facebook was weaponizing advertisers with the needed means to differentiate between specific demographic groups or provoke violence through its network.

In the past, advertisers were capable of directing their ads to radical groups, such as anti-Semitic categories and pseudoscience – statements or beliefs that full under pretense scientific claims and facts but not compatible with scientific methods.

Meta’s latest adjustment to its ad targets of sensitive content policy does not change the fact that advertisers can still address specific categorizations on its platform but will simply restructure its framework to maintain the effectiveness of delivering safe services for users and advertisers of its products.

The behemoth’s marketing vice president revealed that even though Meta will oust detailed ad targeting, advertising groups can still use a feature labeled “Engagement Custom Audiences.” The feature will help them access users who have already shown interest in their page.

In parallel, advertisers can also adopt the latest feature to develop a Lookalike Audience feature.

“A lookalike audience is a way your ads can reach new people who are likely to be interested in your business because they share similar characteristics to your existing customer,” the blog post explained.

Meta also revealed that it will deliver its userbase with more control concerning ads generation by minimizing advertisement of specific content, including gambling and weight loss.

Inside Telecom provides you with an extensive list of content covering all aspects of the tech industry. Keep an eye on our Ethical Tech section to stay informed and up-to-date with our daily articles.