Facebook removes ad-targeting via race, religion, and sexual orientation

Meta has announced that its Facebook and Instagram platforms are removing the ability for advertisers to target users based on their race or ethnicity, religious practices, or sexual orientation. The ban also extends to targeting users by way of political beliefs or links to specific health causes, and will come into play on 19 January 2022. 

In a statement made on the Meta blog, Graham Mudd, VP Product Marketing, Ads, said: “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.” 

“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. We routinely review, update and remove targeting options to simplify our ads system, provide more value for advertisers and people, and reduce the potential for abuse.”

The company says that the decision to remove these targeting options was a difficult one, and that some advertisers have expressed concerns about their ability to target specific user groups on the platform going forward. 

However, Mudd says that brands will still be able to reach consumers by way of age and gender demographics, and that the platforms will continue to evolve their advertising offerings to reflect the changing environment: “We feel confident that we can evolve our ads system to meet the needs of everyone we serve, while working diligently to continue supporting one of the best things about our platforms — helping people connect with and discover the businesses and organizations they care about.”

For all the latest regarding policy, regulatory, and legal updates from around the media tech world, you can find the FIPP Global Media Tech Regulation Tracker here.  


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