In its blog, the company announced it plans to limit advertisers’ ability to target users based on certain sensitive categories starting next year. Meta will remove thousands of keywords related to political affiliation, health, sexual orientation, race, or ethnicity and religion. This is a big step since a major part of its profits was coming from targeted ads.
The Company Officials Say That It Was a Hard Decision to Make
Meta VP of product marketing for ads Graham Mudd stated that the move was a tough decision. He added that the company made it to better match people’s evolving expectations and address criticism from civil rights experts.
This shift will help sensitive categories be less exposed, as the latest data show that 75% of all cyberbullying victims have experienced online harassment on Facebook.
This shift in business model comes as the company faces criticism over the personal information issues (Cambridge Analytica scandal) and the real-world harms its social platforms have caused (Facebook Papers).
The New Rules Will Start to Take Effect on January 19, 2022
The changes will apply to Facebook, Instagram, Messenger apps, and Meta’s audience network. Even though the sensitive keywords will be removed, thousands more will remain. This raises some concerns.
The experts believe that, in proper combination, even general and benign-looking keywords like football, gender and location can be used to target sensitive categories.
Also, it is not clear if the new company policy will apply to the new software the company is developing through its “Metaverse” program.
As always, younger user categories are most susceptible to influences coming from social networks. There are two choices if you want to protect your child from harmful influences. You could rely on improved future legislation, companies’ ethics, or you can use parental control software.