Facebook Removes Vital Targeting Options to Prevent Discriminative Ads
In the past week, ProPublica (an investigative reporting publication) uncovered the fact that Facebook enabled advertisers to target people based on discriminations like ‘Jew haters’ and ‘NaziParty’ etc. The company contacted Facebook to further investigate the issue and Facebook promised to remove such discriminations and improve the targeting filters to avoid such issues.
Facebook has taken action in this regard and has removed targeting filters that are based on users’ employers and education. The reason this was done is that many people have filled out these field in their profiles with offensive terms such as the ones mentioned above. Facebook’s algorithm picks up on it and makes these terms a valid targeting filter. So, until the algorithm is upgraded to block out these kinds of discriminative terms and slangs, the targeting filters associating with them will stay removed.
The active ad campaigns that have used these targeting filters will stay active for their remaining time and will not be affected but they can’t access these filters to add more fields.
This new change has the ability to set back B2B companies who rely on the employer and education filters to target their audiences. They could still target a closely related audience by choosing the interests filters but it will not be as good as targeting people with definitive job titles and education.
Facebook has also added another option that lets advertisers report certain targeting filters as inappropriate. This is very nice first step to remove hate and discrimination from the platform and make it as friendly and peaceful as possible.
This is yet another issue that Facebook has had to handle in addition to the hurdles like fake news or false stories, bot accounts, fake likes and followers etc. But like every other set back, let’s hope that Facebook comes successful out of this one as well.