Contrary to expectation, Facebook has removed many audience targeting options. In a move that contradicts one of the platform’s main strengths for marketers.
during the current week, The social network has announced that it will remove more than 1,000 audience targeting options because they are either not used very often, Or it duplicates other audience targeting categories.
What Facebook explained: “As part of our recent efforts to simplify and streamline targeting options, We’ve identified cases that advertisers – of all sizes and industries – rarely use with diverse targeting options. Infrequent use may be because some of the targeting options are redundant to other marketers or because they are too strict and precise to be practical. So we are removing some of those options.”
And in 2018, For example, Facebook removed more than 5,000 ad targeting categories in order to stop potentially discriminatory targeting. and excluding certain audiences. This came after a 2016 investigation found that the platform’s advanced name targeting options could be used to exclude people based on race or color from real estate ads, which is a violation of US federal laws.
Targeting racial affinity on Facebook
Most of the 5,000 options related to race and religion have been removed. Then, last March, Facebook has implemented new rules around audience targeting specifically for housing, employment, and credit ads. So, in the past , None of these changes were related to concerns about potential abuse.
And Facebook decided to remove the “multicultural affinity” segments. This is to encourage advertisers to use other targeting options such as language or culture to reach people interested in multicultural content. Facebook also combines targeting options that represent “military bases or regiments.” Facebook says advertisers can still reach these audiences by targeting “US Army” officers and soldiers as a separate category.
Targeting versus exclusion. and fears of discriminatory practices
But those options can be used in the opposite direction as well. Just as advertisements can be sent to a category, It is possible to exclude the same group from the audience of an ad on the basis of color or race, Multicultural affinity can be used as an exception to prevent them from seeing a particular ad. So, While Facebook says it removes these options because they are rarely used, Social Media Today magazine suggests that the reason for deleting the options is related to some possible future concerns that involve discriminatory practices that the site wants to avoid, This seems to be the actual reason for deleting those options.