Meta has recently updated its data privacy measures for young users, with new restrictions on ad targeting and new control options. Here’s what you need to know.

What’s changed?

Starting in March, Meta will no longer use interests, activity, gender, and in-app engagement to target ads to teens. Instead, age and location targeting will be the only information used to show teens relevant ads.

Meta notes that teens ‘aren’t necessarily as equipped as adults to make decisions about how their online data is used for advertising, particularly when it comes to showing them products available to purchase’. The company states:

“Age and location will be the only information about a teen that we’ll use to show them ads. Age and location help us continue to ensure teens see ads that are meant for their age and products and services available where they live.” 

Why is this important?

Gender targeting can reinforce cultural bias to some degree, while targeted ads based on in-app actions could see inappropriate promotions being shown to younger users.

To be clear, Meta already has restrictions in place that limit the types of ads that can be shown to teens. But these new measures go an extra step, in limiting exposure to promotional content across Facebook and Instagram, primarily.

Which could also limit marketers’ capacity to hone in on specific audiences – but then again, by using Meta’s own AI-dictated ad targeting options, brands will still be able to reach receptive audiences across its apps, based on relevant factors. Now, however, marketers won’t be able to use interests, activity or gender specifically, but there are still commonalities among younger audiences that would see Meta’s AI highlight their promotions to these audiences.

In addition to this, Meta’s also rolling out new options that will enable teen users to control the ads they see in its apps. This change ensures that teens only see ads that are meant for their age and location and protects their online data from being used for advertising purposes without their knowledge or consent.

How to control ad topics:

Meta has introduced Ad Topic Controls, which will give teens more ways to manage the types of ads they see. Here’s how to use them:

  • Go to the ‘Settings’ section of your Meta app
  • Tap on ‘Ad Topic Controls’
  • Select the ad topics you want to see or opt out of

While this change may limit the ability to target specific audiences, Meta’s AI will still be able to highlight appropriate and relevant sponsored content to young audiences based on commonalities. This also helps avoid potential cultural bias in gender targeting and the display of inappropriate ads to younger users.

Meta’s new data privacy measures aim to protect young users’ online data and give them more control over the ads they see. By following the steps outlined above, you can manage your ad topics and ensure you only see ads that are relevant to your age and location. If you need assistance, please contact us today. We’re here to help.

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