Facebook will no longer target ads based on religion, politics, ethnicity, etc.

Meta, the newly formed parent company of Facebook, has announced that it will no longer allow advertisers to target users based on its algorithms’ interest in certain “sensitive” topics such as race, religion, location. politics, ethnicity, sexual orientation. and more.

The social media giant, along with Alphabet, the parent company of Google, is one of the two largest advertisers on the internet. Last year, the company made nearly 90% of its $ 86 billion in revenue from advertising.

Facebook and Google pride themselves on delivering personalized and “high impact” advertising. To do this, they mine a bewildering amount of user data on the web and create ad profiles of individual users, based on their interests, location, sexual orientation, and more.

Advertisers can then target a certain type of audience that they think is most likely to buy their products or services.

However, in recent years, these targeted advertisements have been increasingly used to disseminate political messages and disinformation campaigns.

Facebook has been accused of inciting riots in the United States, Myanmar, India and many other countries.

“We’ve heard from experts worry that targeting options like these could be used in ways that lead to negative experiences for people from under-represented groups,” said Graham Mudd, executive. at Meta, in a company. blog post, yesterday.

Facebook, which recently underwent a rebranding as Meta, has come under unprecedented regulatory scrutiny in recent months. A former employee turned whistleblower, Frances Haugen, released internal company documents to the press, which led to several explosive revelations about the company’s operations.

Dubbed the “Facebook Files,” the documents revealed that Facebook’s own internal research team reported that its Instagram social app was toxic to teenage girls, but the company chose not to take any action to protect its profits.

Likewise, Haugen has repeatedly accused the company of prioritizing profits over social health and stifling change in several legislative committee hearings in the US, Europe and UK.

Cover image: Shutterstock

Minnie J. Leonard