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Facebook to ban targeted ads geared for 'sensitive' issues like politics, religion

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Facebook to ban targeted ads geared for 'sensitive' issues like politics, religion
The social platform will no longer permit ads targeted at "sensitive" matters like politics and religion, the company said. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 10 (UPI) -- After discussions with civil rights experts and policymakers, Facebook says it's doing away with some advertising practices that target users based on their interactions with certain content on issues like politics, race and sexual orientation.

Facebook's parent company, now called Meta, announced that it will ban such targeted advertising that's based on "sensitive" matters -- including health causes, organizations and public figures that "relate to health, race or ethnicity, political affiliation, religion or sexual orientation."

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Meta said the targeting controls on Facebook will take effect on Jan. 19. The ban will be fully complete in March, when ads previously created with the targeted marketing tools will no longer be allowed to run on Facebook.

"We strongly believe that the best advertising experiences are personalized," Meta Vice President of Product Marketing and Advertising Graham Mudd wrote in a blog post Tuesday.

"At the same time, we want to better match people's evolving expectations of how advertisers may reach them ... and address feedback from civil rights experts, policymakers and other stakeholders on the importance of preventing advertisers from abusing the targeting options."

Mudd noted that the change was a "difficult decision," but that it "balances" important considerations.

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Facebook has often been criticized for allowing advertisers to tailor strategies for users who engage with controversial posts, and for failing to curb misinformation.

Last year, the company took a similar step when it banned political- and issue-based advertising on the social platform.

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