Facebook announced plans to remove over 5,000 ad targeting options in an effort to prevent discriminatory advertising practices.
The company says minimizing the risk of abuse is more important than continuing to offer these otherwise legitimate ways to reach customers.
Facebook did not offer a complete list of targeting options it’s removing, other than to say it’s taking away the ability to exclude audiences by attributes such as ethnicity or religion.
While there are acceptable ways in which advertisers could use such targeting options, other ways of using them can violate Facebook’s policies.
For example, landlords cannot exclude audiences by ethnicity or religion when advertising apartments, which is something Facebook was under fire for earlier this year.
Removing problematic targeting options altogether is one way Facebook can ensure they won’t be misused.
On top of the change to targeting options, Facebook will also be rolling out an education program to certify advertisers are in compliance with its non-discrimination policies.
“We’ve designed this education in consultation with outside experts to underscore the difference between acceptable ad targeting and ad discrimination.”
This program has been in place for over a year and was a requirement for advertisers identified as offering housing, employment, or credit ads.
Now the same certification will be a requirement for all US advertisers to complete. Otherwise, they will not be able to continue advertising on Facebook.
The certification will be rolling out gradually via the Ads Manager tool. It will be expanded to additional countries over time.
These changes are all part of an ongoing effort by Facebook to prevent misuse of its advertising platform.