Over the last couple years, and particularly in recent months, Facebook has undergone major efforts to clean up its various platforms and reduce the damaging ways it can be used. Largely in response to 2016 election meddling issues, Facebook has addressed several areas that could impact internet marketing pros.
One such area is the removal of certain ad targeting options, which was announced by Facebook late in August. At SEO Werkz, our social media services include helping you understand how these kinds of changes might impact your marketing efforts, plus how this will tie in with the rest of your SEO services. Let’s go over the history behind Facebook’s issues with ad targeting, plus what they’ve done to help curb these issues.
In 2016, Facebook took major heat for a system that allowed advertisers to use advanced targeting options to exclude certain users based on race and ethnicity. This is directly against federal law.
As a result of this incident, Facebook took steps to reduce the possibility for this kind of discrimination. They immediately disabled the use of ethnic affinity marketing for many ad types, plus updated their advertising policies to add more specific language on discrimination. They also included new enforcement tools to help detect these kinds of rule breaches and limit them.
Unfortunately, these efforts from Facebook didn’t entirely solve the issue – and this was made clear through the Cambridge Analytica issues surrounding the 2016 Presidential election. Hackers used Facebook’s hyper-targeting capabilities to sent divisive content to very specific groups of people, potentially compromising the integrity of the election in the process.
As a result of the election issues that took place, Facebook took even further steps toward their current system. Specifically, they removed about 5,000 ad targeting options that may have been ripe for misuse in various ways, with examples including targeting based on religious beliefs or any form of racial profiling whatsoever.
Now, while 5,000 targeting options seems like a great deal, don’t be too concerned. Facebook still has tons of options open to you – in fact, they’re still at the top of the social media heap in this area pretty easily.
On top of removing these targeting options, Facebook has also added a new certification process for advertisers. Rather than only advertisers in areas like housing, employment or credit ads being required to certify compliance with their non-discrimination policy, Facebook will now be requiring such a certification for all advertisers of any kind. This change will take place via the Ads Manager tool over the next several weeks and months – if advertisers do not complete this certification, they will not be allowed to keep advertising on Facebook.