Facebook announced Tuesday that it would delete detailed ad-targeting options on “sensitive” topics, such as ads based on interactions with content that revolves around race, health, religious practices, political beliefs or sexual orientation.
In a blog post, the social media giant cited examples of categories that would soon be banned on its platforms, such as “Lung cancer awareness,” “World Diabetes Day,” “LGBT culture,” “Jewish holidays,” or political beliefs and social issues. The tech giant will implement this change from January 19, 2022.
Facebook has been plagued by many critics over its micro-targeting capabilities, which include alleged abuses such as discriminating against or targeting vulnerable groups by advertisers. Just two years ago, it agreed to make changes to its ad platform as part of a settlement on housing discrimination issues.
Advertisers who use Facebook’s ubiquitous platforms can still target audiences by location, use their own customer lists, reach custom audiences that have engaged with their content, and send ads to people with characteristics similar to those custom audiences.
This represents a significant shift in the tech giant’s approach to social and political advertising, though no major impact on the company’s finances is expected.
Facebook, which is now allowing its users to see fewer ads on topics such as politics and alcohol, said it would give users more control over the ads they see early next year.