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Meta to remove certain ad targeting options and expand ad controls

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  • 3 min read

Meta, previously known as Facebook, announced on Tuesday that starting January 19, 2022, the company will remove detailed targeting options from their ads that relate to topics that people might perceive as sensitive.

These options include factors like options referencing causes, organisations, or public figures that relate to health, race or ethnicity, political affiliation, religion, or sexual orientation.

The company has pointed out that removing the options is not based on physical characteristics or personal attributes. Instead, these stem from things like users’ interaction with content on the platform. 

“The decision to remove these Detailed Targeting options was not easy, and we know this change may negatively impact some businesses and organisations,” said Graham Mudd, Meta’s VP for Product Marketing and Ads.

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Better late than never?

Mudd points out that some of Meta’s advertising partners raised concerns about changing these targeting options as they might negatively impact some businesses and organisations while also limiting their ability to help generate “positive societal change.”

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By removing these targeting options, Meta has released a list of tips for small businesses, non-profits and advocacy groups to better reach their audience. 

  • Advocacy groups can use Engagement Custom Audiences to reach people who have liked their page or have watched their content which might have appeared in said users’ News Feed to drive donations. Small businesses can also connect with their audience using the same method. 
  • Aforementioned Engagement Custom Audiences can also be used as a seed audience to generate Lookalike Audiences to further help reach. 
  • Furthermore, Website Custom Audiences and their lookalikes based on the two audiences mentioned above can be used to reach people who may have engaged with the business or group.
  • Location Targeting can still be used to reach people who might be in vicinity to a business’ physical stores.
  • Lastly, businesses and groups can use customer data for targetting via customer lists from a custom audience provided they have permissions from said customers. 

Control your ads

To ensure that users don’t continue seeing ad content they aren’t interested in, the company is working on expanding ad control for people allowing them to choose to want to see fewer ads about specific types of content. 

As of right now, users can opt to see fewer ads about politics, parenting, alcohol and pets. More such options, such as gambling and weight loss, will be coming early next year. 

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Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah is a Computer Science graduate who writes/edits/shoots/codes all things cybersecurity, gaming, and tech hardware. When he's not, he streams himself racing virtual cars. He's been writing and reporting on tech and cybersecurity with websites like Candid.Technology and MakeUseOf since 2018. You can contact him here: