Facebook has announced it is removing 5,000 targeting options as the social giant aims to prevent misuse of its advertising platform. The move comes after mounting pressure on the network over instances of ads being created to target users based on their ethnicity and religious beliefs.

Numerous reports have emerged throughout 2018 of advertisers using Facebook to prevent ads for job offers, housing offers and credit applications being seen by people from certain ethnic and religious groups. Now, Facebook is taking action to make sure its targeting options – which are revered as some of the best in the advertising industry – aren’t used to discriminate against people.


Facebook removes 5k targeting options

While Facebook hasn’t confirmed the full list of targeting options being removed, it says advertisers will no longer be able to exclude audiences that relate to ethnicity or religion. Here’s what the social giant had to say in its statement:


“We’re committed to protecting people from discriminatory advertising on our platforms. That’s why we’re removing over 5,000 targeting options to help prevent misuse. While these options have been used in legitimate ways to reach people interested in a certain product or service, we think minimizing the risk of abuse is more important. This includes limiting the ability for advertisers to exclude audiences that relate to attributes such as ethnicity or religion.”Facebook Business


Facebook also says it’s expanding advertiser education to keep them clued up about their obligations. It’s also rolling out a new certification for advertisers running housing, employment or credit ads to prevent people being excluded for their ethnicity, religion and other discriminatory principles.

Source: Facebook Business


What does this mean for advertisers?

Of course, nobody in their right mind is going to suggest people should be excluded from job interviews or house offers based on their race or religious beliefs – but what does this mean for responsible advertisers who use these settings to deliver more relevant ads to people?

Well, there’s still a lot we don’t know about which targeting options are affected by this latest change but it’s important to know that the moves Facebook is making right now prevent advertisers from excluding people, not targeting them.

While Facebook has come under scrutiny over allowing advertisers to target people based on interests related to their political beliefs, sexuality, religion and other details, it’s yet to prevent advertisers from doing this. Instead, it has responded by reminding users how they can manage their ad preferences.

Facebook already has control guidelines in place to make sure that ads deemed inappropriate are stopped from running so there’s little reason to expect drastic changes in the way you actively targeted users.

However, there could be changes to the control guidelines themselves and it other changes appear to be on their way. The network says it will have more targeting updates in the coming months and we’ll keep you posted on any new developments. – so stay tuned to our social feeds for updates.