Facebook to stop targeting ads based on race, sexual orientation, and politics
Facebook stated today that it will no longer allow marketers to utilize “sensitive” targeting options such as race, religion, sexual orientation, health causes, and political convictions.
Advertisers can buy ads that are shown to specific groups of users using Facebook’s Detailed Targeting tool. Microtargeting is another term for this. These modifications were made in response to “input from civil rights experts, lawmakers, and other stakeholders on the significance of preventing advertisers from misusing the targeting choices we make available,” according to Facebook.
“It is important to note that the interest targeting options we are removing are not based on people’s physical characteristics or personal attributes, but instead on things like people’s interactions with content on our platform,” Facebook wrote. “However, 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.”
The “new prohibition will apply to all of Meta’s apps, including Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and Facebook’s Audience Network,” according to Axios.
Facebook said it will also give users more control over what ads they see. “Today, people can opt to see fewer ads related to politics, parenting, alcohol, and pets,” the blog post said. “Early next year, we will be giving people control of more types of ad content, including gambling and weight loss, among others.”
According to Facebook’s blog post, personalized advertising helps users “discover products and services from small businesses that may not have the ability to market them on broadcast television or other forms of media,” as well as “non-profits, social causes, and organizations to reach the people most likely to support and benefit from them.”
Concerns over Facebook’s privacy have erupted.
Separately, Facebook announced last week that it would shut down its facial recognition system, which is used to automatically tag people in photographs, as well as destroy the facial recognition templates of over 1 billion people. However, according to a Recode story, the promise not to utilize facial recognition on Facebook does not apply to other Meta businesses, and “Meta is actively researching methods to incorporate biometrics into its expanding metaverse company.”
In a new interview, Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen warned that Zuckerberg’s metaverse plan will invade workers’ privacy. “Facebook should have a transparency plan for the metaverse before they start building all this stuff because they’ve demonstrated with regard to Facebook that they can hide behind a wall, they keep making unforced errors, they keep making things that prioritize their own profits over our safety,” Haugen said.